Skip to main content

Full text of "History of prose fiction"

See other formats

-'-.y- V-'\ 


.1 ;//\v 



1 ! \\ ' 



3SV31d USOl dl 

* c 

- V 

!! C 

« ^ 



W3^ iON 0(l 



: r 

: c 

^ T 

! * 

^ </ 
s o 


» -r 

1 ^ 
S O 

2 fTI 


ruSrorfSfs^O-Jv'oV PROSE .CT,ON 


3 T1S3 00151E36 5 










VOL. I. 







THE value of Dunlop's "History of Fiction," now again, 
after a long lapse of vears, placed within reach of the 
English reader, needs no demonstration ; it is amply 
attested by the numerous quotations from and references 
to it in all works, even of the most recent date, upon the 
history of imaginative literature. The explorations in the 
field of the genesis and genealogy of fiction have, indeed, 
recently attained such extensive development that pro- 
bably no single writer could now be found bold enough to 
review such a vast domain as forms the scope of Dunlop's 

Writing at a period when comparatively little had been 
done in the ground he occupied, Dunlop was sensible of 
the magnitude of his task, and found it exj^edient to keej) 
it within practicable compass by confining his attention to 
works in prose — a limitation, however, as need hardly be 
said, altogether artificial in tracing the evolutions of fictive 
composition, which passes, according to certain social con- 
ditions and by laws which might almost be determined, 
from verse to prose, and again from the latter to the 
metrical form. 

In the domain of letters, as of material industries, in- 
crease of labour begets its subdivision and speciaUzation. 
Investigations into the history of fictive literature while 
they have recently been prosecuted with so much learning 


and activity have become limited to the works of a single 
nation, school or period, or even to a particular theme. 

The endeavour of the editor has accordingly been not so 
much to incorporate the results of recent research in the 
present edition, a plan which would have swelled it beyond 
measure, as to shew the direction of such researches, and 
indicate where they may be followed further in connection 
with the subjects handled by Dunlop, and, as it were, 
sailing in his wake down the main current of imaginative 
literature, point out, as far as may be, the course and the 
recent surveys, by which the numerous affluents to the 
stream of fiction may be traced towards their sources. 

Dunlop' s text has been retained almost intact, with the 
exception of the article on the Grraal romance, which the 
labours of M. Paulin Paris, M. Hucher, Professor Schulze 
and many other savants, rendered it necessary to re-write. 

The valuable notes to F. Liebrecht's G-erman translation 
of the work have been incorporated with the notes to 
the present edition, and are usually acknowledged by the 
syllable : Lieb. 

For a few notes the editor is indebted to Mr. Henry 
Jenner. These are subscribed h. j. 

Dunlop scarcely even mentions the literature of several 
northern countries. This omission, it is hoped, is here to 
some extent remedied by appendices on prose fiction in 
Germany, Scandinavia and Russia, which additions, how- 
ever, it was necessary to restrict to the most exiguous 

For the rest, Dunlop' s judgments and criticism are for 
the most part sound, and therefore of permanent value, 
his style is excellent, and the original text as full of in- 
terest as ever, while, it is hoped, that the copious notes 
and index now added, will prove useful to the student. 


The author of the " History of Fiction " was born 
on the 30th December, 178r», and was the son of John 
Dunlop, merchant of Glasgow, and Lord Provost of that 
city in 1796, Collector of Customs at Borrow-Stounness, 
and afterwards at Port Glasgow, where he died in 1820, 
author of some popular songs, among which may be 
named " Oh dinna ask me gin I lo'e you," and " Here's 
to the year that's awa." His wife, the mother of John 
Colin Dunlop, was a daughter of Sir Thomas Miller, of 
Glenlee, who was appointed Lord Justice Clerk in 1766, 
and Lord President of the Court in 1 788 ; and a sister of 
Sir William Miller, of Glenlee, Bart., who was appointed 
one of the Judges of the Court of Session in 1795. 

Of the career of her son, the writer of the " History of 
Fiction," comparatively little would seem to be on record. 

He was admitted a member of the Faculty of Advocates 
on the 7th March, 1807, the subject of his thesis being " De 
jure jurando, sive voluntario, sive necessario, sive judiciali." 
In 1816 he was appointed Sheriff of Renfrewshire, an office 
he continued to hold until his death, which occurred at 
12, India Street, Edinburgh, on the 26th of January, 1842. 
He was said to have been a man of simple manners and 
unostentatious life, a lucid, fluent, and graceful speaker, 
and a sound lawyer. 

For most of the above biographical particulars, I grate- 
fully acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr. Clerk, of the 
Advocates' Library, Edinburgh. 

Besides the " History of Fiction " its author also wrote : 

" The History of Roman Literature, from its earliest 
period to the Augustan age." London, 1823-1828. 3 vols. 

" Memoirs of Spain during the reigns of Philip TV. and 
Charles II.," 1611-1700. London, 1834. 2 vols. 8vo. 

The " History of Fiction " was first published in 1814, 


the full title running " The History of Fiction ; being a 
critical account of the most celebrated prose works of 
Fiction, from the earliest G-reek Eomances to the Novels of 
the Present Day." Edinburgh, 1814. 3 vols. 8vo. 

A second edition was issued in 1816, and I have seen 
references to a Philadelphia reprint in two volumes, 1842, 
from the second edition, and to a third edition in one 
volume, 1845. 

H. W. 





Giraldi, G. B. J)iscorsi intorno al comporre de i Komanzi, etc. Vinegia, 

1554, 4t<). 
Cliapelain, Jean. De la lecture des vieux romans . . . publie pour la 

premiere fois, avec des notes, par A. Peiliet. Paris, 1870, 8vo. 
De rOrigine des Fables, in (Euvres de Monsieur de Fontenelle. Paris, 

1758, torn. iii. pp. 270-296. 
Huet. P. D , Bisho]> of Avranches. Lettre de M. Huet a M. de Segrais. 

De Torigine des romans. Xumeruus editions and translations. 

Knglish in vol. i. of A Select Collection of Novels. Ed. by C. A. 

Croxall. 6 vols. 1722, etc. 
Moore, J., M.D. A view of the commencement and progress of 

Romance. Prefixed to the Miscellaneous Works of Tobias Smollet. 

8 vols. London, 1797, 8vo. 
Ogilvie, J., D.D. Philosophical and critical observations on the 

nature, character, and various Species of Composition. 2 vols. 

London, 1774, 8vo. 
Hurd, P., Bp. of A^'orcester. Letters on Chivalry and Romance. 

1762, Svo. 
Mason, W. Reflections on originality in authors . . . remarks on a 

Letter by Bp. Hurd. 1762, 12mo. 
Stael, Mme. de. An Essay on Fictions (pi-efixed to Zuhna, a tale). 

London, 1813. 
Reeve, Clara. Progress of Romance through times, countries, and 

manners, with remarks on the good and bad effects of it on them 

respectively. 2 vols. Colchester, 1785, 8vo. 
Murray, H. The Morality of Fiction ; or, an Inquiry into the Ten- 
dency of Fictitious Narrative, with Observations, etc. 1805, 12mo. 
Wessenberg, J. H. von. Ueber den sittlichen EinHuss der Romane. 

Constanz, 1826. 
Ueber den Werth der Empfindsamkeit, besonders in Riicksicht auf die 

Romane; Ifalle, 1780. 
Senior, N. W. Essays on Fiction. London, 1864, 4to. 
Boileau. Les Heros de Roman, dialogue a la manicre de Lucien, pp. 

316-343 of Oiavres. 1 vol. ed. Didot, 1862. 
Wheeler, W. A. An explanatory and pronouncing dictionary of the 

noted names of Fiction. Boston, U.S., 1879, 8vo. 


Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 12th edition. 

Header's Handbook. 3rd edition, 1882. 

Liebreeht, F. J. Dunlop's Geschichte der Prosadichtungen oder 

Geschichte der Romane, Novellen, Marchen . . . ausdem Englis- 

chen iibertragen . . . A-ermehrt . . . mit Anmerkungen . . . ver- 

sehen. Berlin, 1851, 8vo. 
Wolff, O. L. B. Allgeraeine Geschichte des Romans, A'on dessen 

Ursprung bis zur neuesten Zeit. Jena, 1841. 
Ebert, A. Allgemeine Geschichte der Literatur des Mittelalters im 

Abendlande. l>eip., 1874, etc., 8vo. 
Goedeke, Carl. Das ]\Iittelalter, Darstellung des Deutschen Literatur 

des Mittelalter. Dresden, 1852-71, 8vo. 
Sismondi. Historical view of the Literature of the South of Europe, 

translated from the French with notes by T. Roscoe. London, 

Graesse, J. G. D. Lehrbuch einer allgemeiner Literargeschichte. 

Dresden, 1837-59. 
Ward, H. L. D. Catalogue of Romances in the Dept. of MSS. in the 

British Museum. Vol. L 1883. 
Gordon de Pei'cel [i.e., N. Lenglet Du Fresnoy]. De Pusage des 

Romans . . . Avec une bibliotheque des Romans Accompagnee de 

remarques critiques sur leur choix & leurs editions. 2 tom. Chez 

la veuve de Puiiras, a la verite sans fard. Amsterdam, 1734. 
Bibliotheque des romans, etc. [ed. by the Marquis de Paulmy]. 1775, 

etc. 12mo. 
Melanges tires d'une grande Bibliotheque. Ed. by the Marquis 

d'Argenson and others. Table alphabetique. 68 tom. Paris, 

1785-88, 8vo. 
Voyages imaginaires, songes, visions et romans cabalistiques, etc. 

36 vols. Paris, 1787-89, 
Roscoe, T. Novelist's Library. London, 1831. 
Hazlitt, W. The Romancist. 1841, etc. 8 vo. 
Wiener, Jahrb. Jahrbiicher der Literatur. Wien, 1818-49. 
Romania. Paris, 8vo. 
Jahrbuch fur Romanische und Englische Literatiir. Berlin, 1859, 

etc. 8vo. 
Orient und Occident. Gottingen, 1860, etc. 

Miiller, K. O. A History of the Literature of Ancient Greece. Con- 
tinued by J. W. Donaldson. 3 vols. London, 1858. 
Schoell. Histoire de la litterature grecque. 2 ed. Paris, 1823-5, 

8vo. 8 vols. 

Geschichte der griechischen Literatur. Ans dem Franz, mit 

Berichtigungen, etc. Berlin, 1828-30. 3 Bd. 

Kicolai,R. Griechisehe Literaturgeschichte. 3 Bd. Magdeburg, 1873- 

78, 8vo. 
Rohde, E. Der griechisehe Roman und seine Vorlaufer. Leipzig, 

1876, 8vo. 
Gidel, A. C. Etudes sur la litterature grecque moderne. Imitations 

en grec de nos romans de chevalerie depuis XIl^ Siecle. Paris, 


Nouvelles etudes sur la litterature grecque moderne. 1876. 


Collection do remans p-ecs. TrLredee d'un I'ssai siir k-s romans grecs, 

par M. (A. F.) ViUenuiin. 1S2-2, etc. 
Zevort, (\ ^I. Romans <i:recs, traduits en fran^ais, ])ar M. C. Z., pre- 
cedes d'une intrnduttion sur le ronian chez les Cireis. Taris, 1856, 

Les Konians grecs. Precedes d'une Etude sur le Jxonian grec, par A. 

Chassang. 1880. 
Kohde, E. Ueber Lucians Schrift Aovkioc i) 'Orog und ihr Verliaeltniss 

zu Lucius von Eatx-ae und den !^letamorphosen des Apuleius. 

Leip., 1869. 
Wachsniuth, C. ])as alte Griechenland ini neuen . . . Alit einem 

Anliang liber Sitten und Aberglauben der Neugriecheri,etc. Bonn^ 

1864. 8vo. 
Xicolai, 1\. Geschichte der Neugricchischen Literatur. Leip., 1876, 

Legrand, E. Collection de Monuments pour servir a I'Ltudc de la langue 

]S'eo-HeIleni(iue. Paris, 1869. etc.. 8vo. 

Bibliotht,H|ue grectjue Vulgaire. Paris, 1881, etc., 8vo. 

Talbot, E. Histoire de la litterature romaine. Paris, 1883, 16mo. 
TeutVel, W. 8. A History of Koman Literature. Trans ... by W. 

Wagner. London, 187.i. 
Siracox, G. A. A History of Latin Literature from Ennius to Boethius. 

2 vols. London, 1883. 

Walker, J. C On the origin of Komantic Fabling in Ireland. Trans- 
actions Ko3'al Irish Acad. Vol. X. 1805. 

Stephens, T. The Literature of the Kymry : being a critical essay on 
the language and literature of Wales during the XII. and two suc- 
ceeding centuries. London, 1876, 8vo. 

Glennie, J. S. S. Arthurian Localities. Edinb., 1869, 8vo. 

Xash, I). W. Taliesin 5 or, the Bards and Druids of Britain. London, 
1858, Svo. 

Guest, C. .Mabinogion. London, 1877, Svo. 

Hunt, K. Popular Komances of the West of England, London, 1881, 

Croker, T. C. Fairy Legends of the South of Ireland. X'ew ed. by 
T. Wright. London, 1882, 8vo. 

Legendary Tales of the Ancient Britons rehearsed from the early 
Chronicles (of Geoffrey of Monmouth). By L. ^Nlcnzies. London, 
1864, 8vo. 

Luzel, F. M. Bepred Breizad, Poesies bretonnes . . . traduction en 
regard. Morlaix, 1865. 

Yeillees bretonnes Morlaix. 1879, Svo. 

Hersart de la Villemartjue (T. G. H.), Viscount. Barzaz Breiz. Chants 
populaires de la Bretagne recueillis, traduits et annotes par . . . 
H. de la V. Six. ed. Breton and Fr. Paris, 1867, Svo. 

Les Komans de la Table Konde et les Contes des anciens Bretons. 

3 ed. Paris, i860, 12mo. 

Ferrario, Giulio. Storia ed analisi degli antichi romanzi di cavalleria, 

etc. Milano, 1H28-29, Svo. 
Paris, A. Pauliu. Les Komans de la table ronde. 5 vols. Paris, 

1878. Svo. 


Paris, Gaston. Histoire po^tique de Charlemagne. Paris, 1865, 
Gautier, Leon. Les Epopees fran^aises. Etude sur les origines et 

I'histoire de la litterature nationale, etc. Paris, 1878, etc. 
Papanti, G. Catalogo dei novelieri italiani in prosa raccolte et posse- 

duti da G. P. Aggiuntevi — alcune novelle . . . inediti. Livorno, 

1871. 2 vols. 
Tables genealogiques des beros des romans (chiefly of Chivalry). 

Paris ? 1794 ? 4 to. 
Leveque, E. Les Mythes et les legendes de I'Inde et de la Perse dans 

Aristo^Dhane, Platen, Aristote, Virgile, Ovide, Tite Live, Dante, 

Boccace, Arioste. Rabelais, Perrault, La Fontaine. Paris, 1880. 
Keightley, T. Tales and popular fictions ; their resemblance and trans- 
mission from country to country. London, 1834. l-2mo. 
Hahn, J. G. v. Mythologische Parallelen. Jena, 1859, 8vo. 
Grimm. Teutonic Mythology, trans, by J. S. Stallybrass. London, 

J)u Meril, E. Histoire de la poesie Scandinave. Paris, 1839, 8vo. 
Les Litteratures populaires de toutes les nations, traditions, legendes, 

contes, chansons. Many vols. Paris, 1881, etc., 8 vo. 
Husson, H. La chaine traditi(mnelle. Paris, 1874, 8vo. 
Varnhagen, H. Ein Indisches Mjirchen und Seine Wanderung aus 

dem Orient. Berlin, 1882, 8v(». 
Max Mueller. Chips from a German Workshop. London, 1875, 

Cabinet des Fees ; ou collection choisie des contes des Fees et autres 

contes merveilleux. 41 torn. Amsterdam. Paris, 1785-89. Svo. 
Walkenaer. Dissertation sur les contes de fees, in Perrault's Contes, 

Lettres sur les contes des Fees. Paris, 1862. 
Deulin. Contes de ma Mere TOye avant Perrault. Paris, 1879. 
Schmidt, F. W. v. Die Marchen Straparola aus dem Ital. 1817, 8vo. 
Beitrage zur Geschichte der Romantischen Poesie. Berlin, 1818, 

Gesta Romanorum, ed. with introduction in German by H. Oesterley. 

Berlin, 1872, 8vo. 
Wi-ight, T. A Selection of Latin Stories from MSS. of the 13th and 

14th centuries. Ed. by T. VV. Vol. 8 of Percy Society Publica- 

cations. 1842. 
Csesarius Heisterbacensis . . . Dialogus miraculorum. Textu-n . . . 

recognovit J. Strange. 2 vols. Culoniae, etc., 1851, 8vo. Divided 

into 12 " distinctiones." — Index in Ceesarii H. . . . Dialogum. — 

ConfluentiaB. 1857, 8vo. 
Maur}', L. F. A. Essai sur les legendes pieuses du moyen age. Paris, 

1843, 8vo. 
Dullinger, J. J. I. von,- Dr. Die Pabstfabeln des Mittelalters. Dr. J. 

J. I. von D.'s, Fables respecting the Popes in the Middle Ages, 

translated by A. Plummer, etc. New York, 1872, Svo. 
■Cox, Sir G. W. Popular Romances of the Middle Ages. London, 

1880, Svo. 
Nisard, M. E. C. Histoire des livres populaires. 2 torn. Paris, 1864, 

12 mo. 


Kulbing. E. Beitniice zur Vergleichenden Geschichte der romaiitisclu-n 

Poesie iind Trosa des Mittelalters, etc. Breslau, 1876, 
Simrock. C. Die Deutscher ^'olksbi■u•hel^ etc-. 1845, etc. 
Hagen, F. H. von der. Gesainnitabentouer. Ilundert Altdeiitsche 

Erziihlunijen. Hitter- iind Pfatten- Miiren, Stadt- undJ)orft;eschiih- 

ten, Schwanke, Wuiider Sai^en und Legeiuien, etc. 3 Bd. Stuttgart, 

1850, 8v(.. 
r. Alfonsi. disciplina Clericalis. Zum ersten mal herausgogeben, mit 

Einleitung und Anmerkungen von F. W. V. Schmidt. Berlin, 

1827, Svo. 
Scheible, ,J. Das Kloster. Weltlich und geistlich. Meist aus der altern 

deutschen Volks-, Wunder-. Curiositaten-, und Vorzugs weise 

Komisclien Literatur. . . . Stuttgart, 1845, etc., IGmo. 
Horst, G. C. Zauberbiblioihek. Mainz, 1821-26, Svo. 
Tharsander, pseu(l. [i.e. F. G. Wegener]. Schau-Flatz vieler unge- 

reimten Meynungen und Erzehlungen : Woraut' die unter dem Titul 

der Magiji? Xaturalis sohoch gepriesene Wisseiischaiten. . . Vorges- 

tellet gepriifet und entdecket werden, etc. 3 Bd. Berlin, 1735- 

42, Svo. 
Weber, H. Metrical Romances. 3 vols. Edinburgh, 1810, Svo. 
Ellis, George. Specimens of Early English Metrical Romances, chiefly 

written during the early part of the fourteenth century. To which 

is prefixed an historical introduction. 3 vols. Bohn, Lond., 1847, 

Estienne, H. Apologia pour Herodote, Satire de la Societe au XVI« 

Siecle, etc. Paris, 1879, Svo. 
liCgrand d'Aussy, P. J. B. Fabliaux, ou contes, fables et romans du 

XII« et du XIII« siecle, traduitsouextraits, par Le Grand d'Aussy. 

3* ed. Paris, 1829, Svo. 
Fabliaux, or tales, abridged from French MSS. of the XII. and 

XIII. centuries. 3 vols. London, 1815, 8vo. 
Meon. Xouveau Recueil de Fabliaux et Contes ine'dits des Poetes 

Francais des XII«=, XIII«, XIV% et XV^ siecle. 2 torn. Paris, 1823, 

Montaiglon, A. de. Recueil general et complet des fabliaux des XIII* 

et XIV« siecles. Paris, 1S72, Svo. 
Koerting, H. Geschichte des franzosisehen Romans in XVII. Jalir. 

Leip., 18S5, etc., Svo. 
Baret. E. De TAmadis de Gaule, et de son influence sur les mceurs . . . 

litterature au XVI** et au XVIP siecles, auec una notice biblio- 

graphique. Paris, 1873, 8vo. 
Cousin, Victor. La Societe fran^aise au XVII. siecle. Paris, 

Madame de Longueville. Etudes sur les femmes , . . du XVII. 

siecle. Paris. 1855. 
Menagiana. ou les bons motset remarques critiques de [Gilles] Menage. 

Recueillis par ses amis. Xouvelle edition. 4 torn. Paris, 1729, 

Elton, C. J. Origins of English History. London, 18S2, Svo. 
Warton, Thomas. The history of English Poetry, from the close of the 

eleventh to the commencement of the eighteenth century. Tu which 


are prefixed two dissertations on the origin of romantic fiction in 

Europe, etc. London, 1840, and numerous editions. 
Ellis, George. Specimens of Early English Romances in metre, chiefly 

■written during the early part of the XIV. century. To which is 

prefixed an historical introduction intended to illustrate the rise and 

progi'ess of romantic composition in France and England. London, 

1805. 3 vols., 8vo. 
Wright, T. Essays on Subjects connected with the literature, popular 

superstitions, and history of England during the middle ages. 
The Bagford Ballads. Edked by J. W. Ebbsworth for the Ballad 

Society. London, 1878, 8vo. 
Masson, I). British Novelists and their Styles, being a ci'itical sketch 

of the history of British Prose Fiction. Cambridge, 1856. 
Tuekerman, B. History of English Prose Fiction. New York, 1882, 

Lanier, S. The English Novel and the principle of its development. 

New York, 1883. 
Forsyth, W. On the Novels and Novelists of the 18th century. Loudon, 

1871, Svo. 
Weber, H. W. Tales of the East. Romances of Oriental origin. 3 vols. 

Edinb., 1812. 
Julien, S. Les Avadanas, contes et apologues indiens inconnus jusqu'a 

ce jour suivis de poesies et de nouvelles chinoises . . . 3 torn. Trad. 

par S. J. Paris, 18.59. 
Hitopadesa. A new literal translation from the Sanscrit text of John- 
son. For the use of students. By F. Pincott. London, 1880, 

Dandin. Hindoo Tales. London, 1873, 8vo. 
Bidpai, or Pilpay. Kalilah and Dimnah ; or, the Fables of Bidpai ; 

being an account of their literary history, with an English transla- 
tion of the late S^^riac version. By Keith Falconer, London, 

1885, 8v(). 
Mahabharata. Indische Sagen (translated from the Mahabharata), von 

A. H. A. Holtzmann. 1845. 
Loiseleur deslongchamps, A. L. A. Essai sur les Fables Indiennes et 

sur leur introduction en Europe. . . . Suivi du roman de Sept Sages 

de Rome, etc. Paris, 1838, Svo. 
Jatakas. The Vedabbha Jataka translated and compared with the 

" Pardoner's Tale," by H. T, Francis. London, 1884, 8vo. 
Cardonne, D. ]). Melanges de litterature orientale, traduits de differens 

Manuscrits turcs, arabes, et persans, etc. 2 tom. Paris, 1770, 

Hole, R. Remarks on the Arabian Nights Entertainments ; in which 

the origin of Sinbad's Voyages and other Oriental fictions is par- 
ticularly considei'ed. Lond., 1797, Svo. 
Habicht, M. Tausend und Fine Nacht. 12 Bde. Breslau, 1825-43. 

Tausend und eine Nacht, Arabische Erzahlungen. Zum erstenMale aus 

dem Urtcxt vollstandig u. treu uebersetzt, von G. Weil. 3 Bd. 

Stuttgart, 1871, Svo. 
The Thousand and One Days : Persian Tales translated into French 


[or rather compiled by F. Petis, de la Croix, assisted by Alain 
l\one le Sajje] and now English. 1714, I'inio. 
Ziyai, Naklishabi. Das Papagaienburh. Eine Sanunluni,' orientalischer 
Er/Jililungen. Nach der Tiirkischen Bcarbeitung [of the Persian 
«»t' Zivai NakhsliabiJ /nni ersten Male ubersetzt von G. Kosen. 2 
Thl. 'Leipzig. 18J8, 8vo. 

Tales of a Parrot; done into from a Persian manuscript 

intitled, Tooti Nameh, etc. [By B. Gerrans.] \'ol. 1 only printed. 
London, 1792, 8vo. 

The 'Loot i iS'ameh. Persian and English. 1801, 8vo. 

Die Papageimarchen .... erzahlt, von ]M. Wickerhauser. Leip., 1838, 

8 vo. 
Firdausi. Shah Nameh. Trans, by Dr. James Atkinson. 

Le Livre des Rois, par Abou'lkasim. Firdousi traduit et 

commente par J. Mohl. 7 tom. Paris, 1876-78, 8vo. 

Heroic Tales. London, 1886, 8vo, 

Julien, S. Nouvelles chinoises. Paris, 1860. 12mo. 

Les deux cousines. Roman Chinois. 2 vols. Paris, 1864. 

Remusat, J. P. A. Contes Chinois traduits. 1827. 12mo. 

Contes Chinois. 3 tom. Paris, 1827, l2mo. 

The Pilgrimage of Fa Hian. From the French, .... with notes. 


Puini, C. Xovelle Cinese, tradotti da C. Puini. Piacenza, 1872, 8vo. 
Talmud. Leggende talnuidiche. Pisa, 1869, 8vo. 

The Talmud of Jerusalem. London, 1886, 4to. 

La Medecine du Thalmud. Paris, 1880, 8vo. 

Treasures of the Talmud, in alphabetical order from A. to L. 

London, 1882, 8vo. 

'Sor\i,F. pseud. Vollstandiges. Worterbuch liber . . . den Talmud, etc. 

1842, 4to. 
Brecher, G. Das Transcendentale, Magic und magische Heilarten im 

Talmud. 1850, 8vo. 
Gould, S. B. Legends of Old Testament Characters from the Talmud. 

1871. Svo. 
Wuelcker, R. P. Das Evangelium Nicodcmi in der abendliindischen 

Literatur. Nebst drei Excursen liber Joseph von Arimathia als 

Apostel Englands, etc. Paderborn, 1872, Svo. 
Weil, G. Biblische Legenden der ]Muselmanner. Aus arabischen 

Quellen, zusammengetragen und mit jiidischen Sagen \'erglichen. 

Frankfurt a. >L, 1845. 8vo. 
Weil. The Bible, the Koran, and the Talmud. Londt n, 1S46, a trans- 
lation of Biblische Legenden. 



Introductit.n ......... 1 


Origin of fictitious narrative — Earliest writers of Greek romance 
— Heliodorus — Achilles Tat i us — Longus — Chariton — Joannes 
Damascenus — Eustathius — Remarks on this species of composi- 
tion 9 


Introduction of the Milesian tales into Italy — Latin Romances — 
Petromus Arbiter — Apuleius, etc 92 


Origin of Romantic fiction in Europe — Romances of chivalry re- 
lating to the early and fabulous history of Britain, particularly 
to Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table — Merlin — Saint- 
Graal — Perceval — Lancelot du Lac — Meliadus — Tristan — Isaie 
le Triste — Artus — Gyron — Percefoi'est — Artus do la Bretagne 
— Cleriadus 114 


Romances of chivalry relating to Charlemagne and his peers — 
Clironicle of Turpin — Huon de Bordeaux — Guerin de Monglave 
— Gallien Rhetore — Milles et Amys — Jourdain de Blaves — 
Ogier le Danois, etc. . . . . . . .274 


Romances of the Peninsula concerning Amadis de Gaul and his 
descendants — Romances relating to the imaginary family of the 
Palmerins— Catalonian romances — Tirante the White — Parte- 
noi)ex de Blois ....... .351 

I. b 




Romances of chivalry relating to classical and mythological heroes 
— Livre de Jason — La Vie de Hercule — Alexandre, etc. . .414 

Supplementary Notes ......... 445 

Appendix ........... 476 

List of some Proper Names employed in the earlier Romances . 499 
Chart showing diffusion of the Kalila ve Dimna. 
Chart of Aryan Exposure and Return formula. 


THE art of fictitious narrative appears to have its origin 
in the same principles of selection bv which the fine 
arts in general are created and perfected. Among the vast 
variety of trees and shrubs which are presented to liis 
view, a savage finds, in his wanderings, some which j^ecu- 
liarlv attract his notice by their beauty and fragrance, and 
these he at length selects, and plants them round his 
dwelling. In like manner, among the mixed events of 
human life, he experiences some which are peculiarly 
grateful, and of which the narrative at once pleases him- 
self, and excites in the minds of his hearers a kindred 
emotion. Of this kind are unlooked-for occurrences, suc- 
cessful enterprise, or great and unexpected deliverance 
from signal danger and distress. As he collected round 
his habitation those objects with which he had been 
pleased, in order that they might afford him a frec]uent 
gratification, so he rests his fancy on those incidents which 
had formerly awaked the most powerful emotions ; and 
the remembrance of which most strongly excites his ten- 
derness, or pride, or gratitucle. 

Thus, in process of time, a mass of curious narrative is 
collected, which is communicated from one individual to 
another. In almost every occurrence of human life, how- 
ever, as in almost every scene of nature, something inter- 
venes of a mixed, or indifferent description, tending to 
weaken the agreeable emotion, which, without it, would 
be more pure and forcible. For example, — in the process 
of forming the garden, the savage finds that it is not 
enough merely to collect a variety of agreeable trees or 
plants ; he discovers that more than this is necessary, and 

I. B 


that it is also essential that he should gnib up from 
around his dwelling the shrubs which are useless or 
noxious, and which weaken or impair the j^ure delight 
which he derives from others. He is careful, accordingly, 
that the rose should no longer be placed beside the thistle^ 
as in the wild, but that it should flourish in a clear, and 
sheltered, and romantic situation, where its sweets may be 
undiminished, and where its form can be contemplated 
without any attending circumstances of uneasiness or dis- 
gust. The collector of agreeable facts finds, in like 
manner, that the sympathy they excite can be heightened 
by removing from their detail every thing that is not in- 
teresting, or that tends to weaken the principal emotion, 
which it is his intention to raise. He renders, in this way, 
the occurrences more unexpected, the enterprises more 
successful, the deliverance from danger and distress more 
wonderful. " As the active world," says Lord Bacon, " is 
inferior to the rational soul, so Fiction gives to mankind 
what history denies, and, in some measure, satisfies the 
mind with shadows when it cannot enjoy the substance : 
For, upon a narrow inspection. Fiction strongly shows that 
a greater variety of things, a more perfect order, a more 
beautiful variety, than can any where be found in nature, 
is pleasing to the mind. And as real history gives us not 
the success of things according to the deserts of vice and 
virtue. Fiction corrects it, and jDresents us with the fates 
and fortunes of persons rewarded or j^unished according to 
merit. And as real history disgusts us with a familiar 
and constant similitude of things. Fiction relieves us by 
unexpected turns and changes, and thus not only delights, 
but inculcates morality and nobleness of soul. It raises 
the mind by accommodating the images of things to our 
desires, and not, like history and reason, subjecting the 
mind to things." ^ 

From this view of the subject, it is obvious that the 
fictions framed by mankind, or the narratives with which 
they are delighted, will vary with their feelings, and with 
the state of society. Since Fiction may be regarded as 
select and highly coloured history, those adventures would 

^ De Aug. Sclent, lib. ii. p. 1. 


naturally form the basis of it which had already come to 
pass, or whieli were most likely to occur. Accordingly, in 
a warlike age, it would he peculiarly employed in tales of 
enterprise and chivalry, and, in times of gallantry, in the 
detail of love adventures. 

The History of Fiction, therefore, becomes, in a con- 
siderable degree, interesting to the philosopher, and occu- 
pies an important place in the history of the progress of 
society. By contemi)lating the fables of a people, we have 
a successive delineation of their prevalent modes of think- 
ing, a picture of their feelings and tastes and habits. In 
this respect prose fiction appears to possess advantages 
considerably superior either to history or poetry. In his- 
tory there is too little individuality ; in j^oetry too much 
effort, to permit the poet and historian to portray the 
manners living as they rise. History treats of man, as it 
were, in the mass, and the individuals whom it paints are 
regarded merely, or jirincipally, in a public light, without 
taking into consideration their private feelings, tastes, or 
habits. Poetry is in general capable of too little detail, 
while its paintings, at the same time, are usually too much 
forced and exaggerated. But in Fiction we can discrimi- 
nate without impropriety, and entei' into detail without 
meanness. Hence it has been remarked, that it is chiefly 
in the fictions of an age that we can discover the modes of 
living, dress, and manners of the period. " Finally," says 
Borromeo, (in the preface to the Notizia de' Novellieri 
Itahani,) " we should remark the light that novels spread 
on the history of the times. He who doubts of this may 
read the Eulogium of Bandello, and he will be satisfied 
that his Novelliero may be regarded as a magic mirror, 
which distinctly reflects the customs and manners of the 
sixteenth century, an age fertile in great events ; and it 
also acc|uaints us with many literary and political anec- 
dotes, which the historians of the revolutions of our states 
have not transmitted to posterity. I, myself, can aftirm 
that in these tales I have found recorded authentic anec- 
dotes of the private lives of sovereigns, which would in vain 
be sought for in ordinary histories." 

But even if the utility which is derived from Fiction were 
less than it is, how much are we indebted to it for pleasure 


and enjoyment! It sweetens solitude and cliarms sorrow 
— it occupies the attention of the vacant, and unbends the 
mind of the philosoj^her. Like the enchanter, Fiction 
shows us, as it were in a mirror, the most agreeable ob- 
jects ; recalls from a distance the forms which are dear to 
us, and soothes our own griefs by awakening our sympathy 
for others. By its means the recluse is placed in the 
midst of society ; and he who is harassed and agitated in 
the city is transported to rural tranquillity and repose. 
The rude are refined by an introduction, as it were, to the 
higher orders of mankind, and even the dissipated and 
selfish are, in some degree, corrected by those paintings of 
virtue and simple nature, which must ever be employed by 
the novelist, if he wish to awaken emotion or delight. 

And such seems now to be the common idea which is 
entertained of the value of Fiction. Accordingly, this 
j^owerful instrument of virtue and hap23iness, after having 
been long despised, on account of the purposes to which it 
had been made subservient, has gradually become more 
justly appreciated, and more highly valued. Works of 
Fiction have been produced, abounding at once with the 
most interesting details, and the most sagacious reflections, 
and which differ from treatises of abstract philosophy only 
by the greater justness of their views, and the higher inte- 
rest which they excite. And it may be presumed, that a 
path, at once so useful and delightful, will continue to be 
trod : it may be presumed, that virtue and vice, the con- 
duct of humaD life, what we are expected to feel, and what 
we are called on to do and to suffer, will long be taught by 
example, a method which seems better fitted to improve 
the mind than abstract propositions and dry discussions. 

Entertaining such views of the nature and utility of 
fiction, and indebted to its charms for some solace and en- 
joyment, I have employed a few hours of relaxation in 
drawing up the following notices of its gradual progress. 
No works are perhaps more useful or agreeable, than those 
which delineate the advance of the human mind — the his- 
tory of what different individuals have effected in the 
course of ages, for the instruction, or even the innocent 
amusement, of their species. Such a delineation is attended 
with innumerable advantages : It furnishes a collection of 


interesting facts concerning the philosophy of mind, which 
we thus study not in an abstract and introspective method, 
but ill a manner certain and experimental. It retrieves 
from oblivion a number of individuals, whose now obsolete 
works are perhaps in detail unworthy of public attention, 
but which promoted and diffused, in their own day, light 
and pleasure, and form as it were landmarks which testify 
the course and progress of genius. By contemplating also 
not only what has been done, but the mode in which it has 
been achieved, a method may perhaps be discovered of 
proceeding still farther, of avoiding the errors into which 
our predecessors have fallen, and of following the paths in 
which they have met success. Retrospective works of this 
nature, therefore, combine utility, justice, and pleasure ; 
and accordingly, in different branches of philosophy and 
literature, various histories of their progress and fortunes 
have appeared. 

I have attempted in the following work to afford such a 
delineation as is now^ alluded to, of the origin and progress 
of fiction, of the various forms which it has successively 
assumed, and the different authors by whom the prose 
works in this department of literature have been most 
successfully cultivated and promoted. I say ^jrose "works, 
since such alone are the proper objects of this undertaking. 
It was objected to a former edition, that I had commenced 
the History of Fiction only in the decline of literature, and 
had neglected the most? sublime and lofty efforts of mytho- 
logy and poetry. But it never was my intention to con- 
sider fiction as connected with these topics, (an enquiry 
which, if properly conducted, would form a work of greater 
extent than the whole of the present volumes, and which 
well deserves a peculiar treatise,) but merely to consider 
the different fictions in prose, which have been given to the 
world under the name of romance or novel. That I have 
begun late, arises from the circumstance, that the works of 
which I have undertaken a description were late in making 
their appearance ; and I am the more strongly induced to 
direct my enquiries to this subject, as I am not aware that 
any writer has hitherto presented a full and continued 
view of it, though detached parts have been separately 
treated w*ith much learninsr and infjenuitv. 


Huet, who was the first that investigated this matter, 
has written an essay on the Origin of Romances. That part 
of his work which relates to the Greek romances, though very 
succinct, is sufiiciently clear, and stored with sound criti- 
cism. But having brought down the account of fiction to 
the later Greeks, and just entered on those composed by 
the western nations, which have now the name of Romances 
almost appropriated to them, " he j^uts the change on his 
readers," as Warburton has remarked, (Notes to Love's 
Labour's Lost,) " and instead of giving us an account of the 
Tales of Chivalry, one of the most curious and interesting 
parts of the subject of which he promised to treat, he con- 
tents himself with an account of the poems of the Provencal 
writers, called likewise romances ; and so, under the equi- 
voque of a common term, he drops his proper subject, and 
entertains us with another which had no relation to it 
except in the name." 

Subsequent to the publication of this treatise by Huet, 
several works were projected in France, with the design of 
exhibiting a general view of fictitious comi^osition. The 
first was the Bibliotheque des Romans, by the Abbe Lenglet 
Dufresnoy, in two volumes, published in 1735, under the 
name of Gordon de Percel. It is a mere catalogue, how- 
ever, and wants accuracy, the only quality which can 
render a catalogue valuable. 

In 1775, a work, also entitled Bibliotheque des Romans, 
was commenced on a much more extensive j^lan, and was 
intended to comprise an analysis of the chief works of 
fiction from the earliest times. The design was conceived 
and traced by the Marquis de Paulmy, whose extensive 
library supplied the contributors with the materials from 
which their abstracts were drawn. The conductor was M. 
de Bastide, one of the feeble imita-tors of the younger 
Crebillon. He supplied, however, few articles, but en- 
joyed as co-operators, the Chevalier de Mayer, and M. de 
Cardonne ; as also the Comte de Tressan, whose contribu- 
tions have been likewise published in the collection of his 
own works, under the title CorjDS d'Extraits. 

In the Bibliotheque des Romans, prose works of fiction 
are divided into classes, and a summary of one romance . 
from each order is exhibited in turn. This compilation 


was published periodically till the year 1787, and four 
voliniies were annually given to the world. 

Next to the enormous length, and the frequent selection 
of worthless materials, the principal objection to the work 
is the arrangement adopted by the editors. Thus, a 
romance of chivalry intervenes between two Greek ro- 
mances, or is presented alternately with a French heroic 
romance, or modern novel. Hence the reader is not 
furnished with a view of the progress of Fiction in con- 
tinuity ; he cannot trace the imitations of successive 
fal)lers, nor the way in which fiction has been modified by 
the manners of an age. There is besides little or no 
criticism of the novels or romances which are analyzed, 
and the whole work seems to have been written under the 
eye of the sultan who said he would cut off the head of the 
first man who made a reflection. But even the utility of 
the abstracts, which should have been the principal object 
of the work, is in a great measure lost, as it appears to 
have been the intention of the editors rather to present an 
entertaining story, somewhat resembling that of the 
original, than a faithful analysis. Characters and senti- 
ments are thus exhibited, incongruous vdth. ancient ro- 
mance, and abhorrent from the opinions of the era whose 
manners it reflects. It is only as presenting a true and 
lively picture of the age, that romance has claims on the 
attention of the antiquarian or philosopher ; and if its 
genuine remains be adulterated with a mixture of senti- 
ments and manners of modern growth, the composition is 
heterogeneous and uninstructive. (Eose's "Aniadis de 

Abstracts of romances omitted in the Bibliothcque des 
Eomans have been published in Melanges tirces d'vme 
Grande Bibliothcque, which is a selection from the scarce 
manuscripts and publications contained in the library of 
the Marquis de Paulmy. The work has also been con- 
tinued in the Nouvelle Bibliothcque des Eomans, which 
comprises abridgments of the most recent productions of 
the French, English, and German novelists. 

In this country there has been no attempt towards a 
general History of Fiction. Dr. Percy, Warton, and 
others, have written, as is well known, with much learning 


and ingenuity, on that branch of the subject which relates 
to the origin of Romantic Fiction — the marvellous decora- 
tions of chivalry. This enquiry, however, comprehends 
but a small part of the subject, and even here research 
has oftener been directed to the establishment of a theory, 
than to the investigation of truth. 

In the following work I shall try to present a faithful 
analysis of those early and scarce productions which form, 
as it were, the landmarks of Fiction. Select passages will 
occasionally be added, and I shall endeavour by criticisms 
to give such a sketch as may enable the reader to form 
some idea of the nature and merit of the works themselves, 
and of the transmission of fable from one age and country 
to another. 

Edinburgh, \Qth Feb., 1816. 







THE nature and utility of fiction having Leen pointed 
out, and the design of the work explained in the intro- 
ductory remarks, it now remains to prosecute what forms 
the profjer object of this undertaking, — the origin and 
progress of prose works of fiction, with the analysis and 
criticism of the most celebrated which have been succes- 
sively presented to the world. 

"We have already seen that fiction has in all ages formed 
the delight of the rudest and the most polished nations. It 
was late, however, and after the decline of its nobler litera- 
ture, that fictions in prose came to be cultivated as a 
species of composition in Greece. In early times, the mere 
art of writing was too difficult and dignified to be employed 
in prose, and even the laws of the principal legislators were 
then promulgated in verse. In the better ages of Greece, 
all who felt the mens clivijiior, and of whose studies the em- 
bellishments of fiction were the objects, naturally wrote in 
verse, and men of genius would have disdained to occupy 
themselves with a simple domestic tale in prose. This 
mode of composition was reserved for a later period, when 
the ranks of poetry had been filled with great names, and 
the very abundance of great models had produced satiety. 
Poetical i)roductions too, in order to be relished, require to 


be read with a spark of tlie same feeling in which they are 
composed, and in a luxurious age, and among a luxurious 
people, demand even too much effort in the reader, or 
hearer, to be generally pojjular. To such, a simple narra- 
tive, a history of ludicrous or strange adventures, forms 
the favourite amusement ; and we thus find that listening 
to the recital of tales has at all times been the peculiar enter- 
tainment of the indolent and voluptuous nations of the 
East. A taste, accordingly, for this species of narrative, 
or composition, seems to have been most early and most 
generally prevalent in Persia and other Asiatic regions, 
where the nature of the climate and effeminacy of the in- 
habitants consj)ired to promote its cultivation. 

The people of Asia Minor, who ^^ossessed the fairest 
portion of the globe, were addicted to every species of 
luxury and magnificence ; and having fallen under the 
dominion of the Persians, imbibed with the utmost avidity 
the amusing fables of their conquerors. The Milesians, 
who were a colony of Greeks, and spoke the Ionic dialect, 
excelled all the neighbouring nations in ingenuity, and first 
caught from the Persians this rage for fiction : but the 
tales they invented, and of which the name has become so 
celebrated, have all perished. There is little known of 
them, except that they were not of a very moral tendency, 
and were principally written by a person of the name of 
Aristides, whose tales were translated into Latin by 
Sisenna, the Eoman historian, about the time of the civil 
wars of Marius and Sylla. Huet, Vossius,^ and the other 
writers by whom the stories of Aristides have been men- 
tioned, concur in representing them as short amatory nar- 
ratives in prose ; yet it would aj^pear from two lines in 
Ovid's "Tristia," that some of them, at least, had been 
written in verse : — 

Junxit Aristides Milesia carmina seeum — 
Pulsus Aristides nee tamen urbe sua est.^ 

^ De Historicis Grsecis. — Aristides. 

^ There is, however, another reading, " crimina," which Manso follows 
in his German translation, remarking that Aristides' work was certainly- 
composed in prose. Sisenna translated it into prose, " nee obfuit illi — 
Historiae turpes inseruisse jocos." — Trist. ii. 443, and 412, and Lucian 
and Apuleius, both prose writers, speak of the Greek as their model in 


But tlioup:li the Milesian tales have perished, of their 
nature some idea may be formed from the stories of Par- 
thenius of Nieaea, many of which, there is reason to believe, 
are extracted from these ancient fables, or at least are 
written in the same spirit/ The tales of Parthenius are 
al>out forty in number, but appear to be mere sketches. 
They chiefly consist of accounts of every species of seduc- 
tion* and tiie criminal passions of the nearest relations. 
The principal characters generally come to a deplorable 
end, though seldom proportioned to what they merited by 
their vices. Parthenius seems to have grafted the Milesian 
tales on the my thological fables of Apollodorus and similar 
writers, and also to have borrowed from early historians 
and poets, whose productions have not descended to us. 
His work is inscribed to the Latin poet Cornelius Grallus, 
the contemporary and friend of Virgil.' Indeed the author 
says that it was composed for his use, to furnish him with 
materials for elegies and other poems.'' 

narration and expression [Lucian, Amores, § 1, and Apuleius, in the 
introduction to his Metamorphoses.] — Liebrccht. The tales of JSybaris 
were equally famous and infamous with those of Miletus (Ovid, Trist. 
ii. 4, 17). iElian and Aristophanes have preserved an outline of two of the 
tales of Sybaris, which, however, are naive and irreproachable enough. 
(See Landau Quellen, 1884, p. 300 ; see chap. ii. of the present work). 

^ The work of Parthenius, Trspi tpwriKioi' Tra^in-iarui}', is a collection 
of thirty-six abstracts of love legends collected in brief form from histo- 
rians and poets, and dedicated to the compilers friend, the Koman poet 
Cornelius Gallus. The object of the compilation is partly to elucidate 
allusions occurring in poetical works, partly to supply themes for elegiac 
or epic narratives of love adventures, as appears from the dedication of 
Parthenius. They thus afford, remarks Kohde (Griech, Rom. p. 114), 
the most explicit testimony to the close connection between the Koman 
artificial poetry of the early Empire with the Alexandrian .school of 
imaginative literature, and supply an invaluable source of information 
upon the popular erotic tales, known to us otherwise only by meagre 
fratrments, and upon their recital in both prose and poetical writers. A 
further element of value is added by the care of the compiler in generally 
indicating the sources whence he has drawn, such as the Milesian, 
Naxian, Pallenian, Lydian, Trojan, and Bythinian tales. (See Kohde, 
Gr. Kom. p. 114, and* Mueller. Hist. Lit. Cjr. iii. p. 354.) 

^ Eclog. 10. 

■■' Conon, the grammarian, a contemporary of Parthenius, was the 
author of fifty SinyljCfHc, of whi<-h abstra(;ts have been preserved by 
Photius, Patriarch of Alexandria. They are for the most part of mythical- 
historical character. No. 38 is essentially the story of the judgment of 


The inhabitants of Asia Minor, and especially the Mile- 
sians, had a considerable intercourse with the G-reeks of 
Attica and Peloponnesus, whose genius also naturally dis- 
posed them to fiction : they were delighted with the tales 
of the eastern nations, and pleasure produced imitation/ 

Previous, however, to the age of Alexander the G-reat, 
little seems to have been attempted in this style of com- 
position by the European G-reeks ; but the more frequent 
intercourse which his conquests introduced between the 
Greek and Asiatic nations, oj^ened at once all the sources 
of fiction/ Clearchus, who was a disciple of Aristotle, and 
who wrote a history of fictitious love adventures, seems to 
have been the first author who gained any celebrity by this 
species of composition. Of the romances, however, which 
were written previous to the appearance of the Theagenes 
and Chariclea of Heliodorus, I am compelled to give a very 
meagre account, as the works themselves have perished, 
and our knowledge of them is chiefly derived from the 
summary which is contained in the Bibliotheca of Photius. 

Some years after the composition of the fictitious history of 
Clearchus, Antonius Diogenes wrote a more j^erf ect romance 
than had hitherto appeared, founded on the wandering 
adventures and loves of Dinias and Dercyllis, entitled, 

Sancbo Panza on the staff (Don Quixote, pt. ii. cb. 45). This is found 
in the life of St. Nicholas of Bari, in the Legencia Aurea of Jacobus de 
Voragine, whence Cervantes may have derived it. The same legend 
is current among the Mohammedans (Weil, Biblische Legenden der 
Mubammedaner, p. 213), and occurs in the Talmud (Bliitter fiir Israels 
Gegenwart and Zukunft Erster Jahrg. Berlin, 1845, p. 27). There is a 
similar local legend in the Brandenburg jNIarch (Magazin fiir die Lite- 
ratur des Auslandes, 1843, No. 77). — Lieb. 

^ Indian literature indeed bears traces of Greek influence subsequent 
to the expedition of Alexander, and there is sparing indication of the in- 
verse. See, however, note on Heliodorus (pp. 22, 23 infra). Dunlop 
cites but two works, those of Clearchus and Antonius Diogenes, in sup- 
port of his assertion. Opinions differ widely upon the Erotica of Clear- 
chus. By some it is considered to have been a philosophic treatise upon 
loA'e, by others a romance, by others a collection of short erotic tales. 
Antonius Diogenes flourished probably considerably after the commence- 
ment of the Christian era, and not earlier than the end of the second 
century, according to Passow (in Ersch and Grubei''s " Encyclop."). His 
work, moreover, exhibits no special indication of Eastern influence. 
For somewhat fuller notice of this question, see Liebrecht's notes, 
p. 456. 



That island, of which the position is one of the most doubtful 
points in ancient geo|j:ra}>hy, was not, according to Diogenes, 
the most distant of the globe, as he talks of several beyond 
it : Thule is but a single station for his adventurers, and 
many of the most incredible things are beheld in other 
quarters of the world. The idea of the work of Diogenes 
is said to have been taken from the Odyssey, and in fact 
many of the incidents seem to have been borrowed from 
that poem. Indeed the author mentions a number of 
writers prior to himself, particularly Antii)hanes, from 
whom he had collected these wonderful relations. Aulus 
Gellius tells us, that coming on one occasion from Greece to 
Italy, he landed at Brundusium, in Calabria, where he 
purchased a collection of fabulous histories, under the 
names of Aristeus, Ctesias, and Onesicritus, which were 
full of stories concerning nations which saw during night, 
Init were blind during day, and various other fictions, 
which, we shall find, were inserted in the " Incredible 
Things in Thule." '" The work of Diogenes is praised by 
Photius for its jmrity of style, and the delightful variety 
of. its adventures; yet, to judge from that author's abridg- 
ment, it seems to have contained a series of the most 
improbable incidents. But though filled with the most 
trilling and incredible narrations, it is deserving of atten- 
tion, as it seems to have been a repository from which 
Achilles Tatius and succeeding fablers derived the materials 
of less defective romances. 

Dinias flying from Arcadia, his native country, arrives at 
the mouth of the river Tanais. Urged by the intensity of 
the cold, he proceeds towards the east, and, having made a 
circuit round the globe, he at length reaches Thule [c. 2]. 
Here he forms an acquaintance with Dercyllis, the heroine 
of the romance, who had been driven from Tyre along with 

^ 'Ai'TOJi'iov Aioyirovc toji' vir'tp OorXijv uTna-iur Xoyoi For a discussion 
of the theories respecting the locality of Thule, see Elton's " Origins of 
English History," p. 68. 

- Gellius, however, onl}' says that they saw better at night, a circum- 
stance which has reference to the nocturnal solar phenomena in very 
northern latitudes. 


her brother Mantinia, by the intrigues of Paapis, an Egyp- 
tian priest. She relates to Dinias how she had wandered 
through Ehodes and Crete, and also among the Cimme- 
rians, where she had a view of the infernal regions [c. 3], 
through favour of her deceased servant Myrto ; — how, 
being separated from her brother, she arrived with a, 
person of the name of Ceryllus at the tomb of the Syrens, 
and afterwards at a city in Spain, where the people saw 
during the night, a privilege which was neutralized by 
total bhndness during day. — Dercyllis further relates how 
she travelled among the Celts, and a nation of Amazons 
[c. 4] ; and that in Sicily she again met with her brother 
Mantinia, who related to her adventures still more extra- 
ordinary than her own ; having seen all the sights in the 
sun, moon, and most remote islands of the globe [c. 5]. 
Dercyllis, after many other vicissitudes, arrives in Thule 
[c. 6], whither she is followed by her old enemy Paapis, 
who, by his magic art, makes her die every night and come 
alive again in the morning ; — an easy kind of punishment, 
being equivalent to a refreshing naj). The secret of these 
incantations, which chiefly consisted in sj^itting in the 
victim's face, is detected by Azulis, who had accompanied 
Dinias into Thule, and the spells of the powerful magician 
being through his means broken, Dercyllis and Mantinia 
return to their native country [c. 7, 8]. After the depar- 
ture of his friends, Dinias wanders beyond Thule, and ad- 
vances towards the Pole. In these regions he says the 
darkness continued sometimes a month, sometimes six 
months, but at certain places for a whole year ; and the 
length of the day was proportioned to that of the night. 
At last, awakening one morning, he finds himself at Tyre, 
where he meets with his old friends Mantinia and Dercyllis, 
with whom he passes the remainder of his life [c. 9]. 

Besides the principal subject of the romance, of which an 
abstract has been given by Photius, Porj^hyrius, in his Life 
of Pythagoras, has preserved a long and fabulous account 
of that mysterious philosopher, which, he tells us, formed 
an episode of the Incredible Things in Thule, and was re- 
lated to Dercyllis by Aristseus, one of the companions of 
her flight from Tyre, and an eminent disciple of Pytha- 
goras. Mnesarchus one day found, under a large poplar. 


au infant, who lay gazing undazzled on the sun, holding a 
reed in his mouth, and sipping the dew which dropped on 
liim from the ]»oplar. Tliis child was carried home l>y 
Mnesarchus, who bestowed on him the name of Aristseus, 
and brought him up with his youngest son Pythagoras. 
At length Aristaeus became one of the scholars of that 
philosopher, along with Zamolxis, the legislator of the 
Getae, after he had undergone an inspect io corporis, to 
which the Samian sage invariably subjected his disciples, 
as he judged of the mental faculties by the external form. 
Aristaeus was thus enabled to give an account of the travels 
of his master, and the mystical learning he acquired among 
the Egyptians and Babylonians ; of the tranquil life which 
he passed in Italy, and the mode in which he healed 
diseases by incantations and magic poems ; for he knew 
verses of such power that they produced oblivion of pain, 
soothed sorrow, and repressed all inordinate a2)2)etites. 

The romance of the Incredible Things beyond Thule 
was dedicated to the author's sister Isidora, and consisted 
of twenty-four books, in which Dinias was represented as 
relating his own adventures, and those he had heard from 
Dercyllis, to Cymba, who had been sent to Tyre by the 
Arcadians to prevail on him to return to his native country. 
The account of these adventures is, at the beginning of the 
romance, described as having been engraved on cypress 
tablets by one of Cymba' s attendants ; at the request of 
Dinias they were placed in his tomb after his death, and 
are feigned to have been discovered by Alexander the Great 
during the siege of Tyre.^ 

After the composition of the Dinias and Dercyllis of 

^ Photius, Bibliotheca Cod. 156, p. 355, ed. 1653, Rotbomagi. In the 
" Keisefabulistik " Kolide discerns one of the points of departnre whence 
the Greek imaginary romance was developed. He is accordingly anxious 
to establish the date of Diogenes, wliich upon a numerous array of 
authorities he gives as the first half of the third century. (Gr. Kom. 
p. 252.) The long series of adventures in the Romance of lamblichus 
is merely a development upon the kind of work represented by the story 
of the incredible things beyond Thule. The movement is entirely ob- 
jective, there is no play of the emotions. A couple of lovers fly before 
their pursuers from land to land, amid a gloomy alternation of misfor- 
tunes imminent ruin is ever averted at the last moment, and virtue 
finally obtains its triumph and reward in plenary i.appincss. (Ibid. p. 


Diogenes, a considerable j^eriod seems to have elapsed 
without the production of any fictitious narrative deserving 
the apj^ellation of a romance. 

Lucius Patrensis and Lucian, who were nearly contem- 
porary, lived during the reign of the emperor Marcus 
Aurelius: Lucius collected accounts of magical transfor- 
mations ; ^ Photius remarks, that his style is dehghtful by 
its perspicuity, purity, and sweetness, but as his work com- 
prehends a relation of incidents 2)rof essedly incredible, with- 
out any attempt on the part of the author to give them 
the appearance of reality, it cannot perhaps be properly 
admitted into the number of romances. 

A considerable portion of the Metamorphoses of Lucius 
were abridged and transferred by Lucian into his Ass, to 
which he also gave the name of Lucius ; a work which 
may perhaps be again mentioned when we come to speak 
of the Golden Ass of Apuleius, a longer and more cele- 
brated production of the same species. 

About the time these authors lived, lamblichus ^ wrote 


The romance itself has been lost, but the epitome given 
by Photius shows that little improvement had been made 

^ Called by Photius (Biblioth. Cod. 129) Mero/iop^ocrat^v \6yoi dLCKpopoi. 
According to Photius, Lucius liimself believed in these marvels, includ- 
ing the transformation of men into animals, and vice versa. — Lieb. 
Whether the supposed Lucius of Pati'te, or Lucian, is the prior author 
of the story, the original of which, probably derived from early Aryan 
sources, and formed one of the INIilesian Tales, has been much contested 
(See the matter discussed in J. P. Courier's " La Luciade ou I'Ane de 
Lucius de Patras," Paris, 182S, preface, p. x ; E. Kohde's "Lucian's 
Schrift,-' 1869 ; and De Luciano libelU qui inscribitur Lucius sive 
asinus actore, scripsit C. F. E., Knaut. Lipsiie, 1868). The Aveight of 
ai-gument, as of authority, is in favour of the supposition that Lucian 
drew from Lucius, or a prior source, and Apuleius from Lucian. (See 
further, art. Apuleius, p. 107.) 

- He was born of Syrian pai'ents. In his j^outh he w^as placed under 
the care of a learned Babylonian, who instructed him in the manners 
and customs of his country, and particularly in its language, which by 
this time must have been somewhat simplified. His Babylonish pre- 
ceptor, however, was taken prisoner, and sold as a slave at the time of 
Trajan's Syrian conquest. After this lamblichus applied himself chiefly 
to Greek literature, but he informs us that he did not forget his magic, 
for, when Antoninus sent his colleague Yerus against Vologesus, king 


in this species of composition, during the i)eriod which had 
elapsed since the production of the Dinias and Dereyllis of 

Garmus, king of Bal)vlon, having fallen in love with 
Sinonis, but not being agreeable to the object of his affec- 
tions, the lady escapes from his power along with her lover 
Rhodanes. The probability of this event having been 
anticijxited, Damas and Saca, two eunuchs who had been 
appointed to watch them, (after having their nose and ears 
cut off, for their negligence in allowing their flight,) are 
sent out by the king to re-commit them [c. 2]. The ro- 
mance principally consists of the adventures of the fugi- 
tives, and their hair-breadth escapes from these royal 
messengers. We are told that the lovers first sought 
refuge with certain shepherds in a meadow, but a demon, 
or spectre, which haunted that Cjuarter in the shape of a 
goat, (rpdyov n (pdafia,) having become enamoured of 
Sinonis, she is compelled to leave this shelter, in order to 
avoid his fantastic addresses. It is then related how 
Sinonis and Rhodanes conceal themselves in a cavern, in 
which they are beleaguered by Damas ; but the eunuch and 
his forces are routed by a swarm of poisonous bees.^ By 

of the Parthians (a.d. 167), he predicted the progress and issue of that 

Photius has given a pretty full account of the Sinon and Rhodanes of 
lamblichus, in his Myriabiblia. A MS. of the romance was (says Huet) 
formerl}- extant in the library of the Escurial, which was burnt in 1670. 
Another copy was in possession of Jungerman, who died in the beginning 
of the seventeenth century, but it has since disappeared. (See Passow- 
Scriptores Erotiei, i. p. iii.) Some fragments originally transcribed by 
Vossius, from the Florentine library, were published fin 1641 by Leo 
Allatius, in his excerpts from the Greek Rhetoricians (]Me'm. de I'Acad. 
des Inscriptions, vol. xxxiv. p. 57). This memoire, by Lebean, has been 
shown by Chardon de la Rochette (Melanges, i. p. 18) to contain many 
errors, and the fragments not to belong to the Babylonica. 

lamblichus. the author of this romance, must not be confounded with 
either of the Platonic philosophers of that name, both of whom lived in the 
reign of the Emperor Julian, and were great favourites of the Apostate. 

The name 'lum^Xixoc, says ]\Iueller, seems to be an Arabic form, and 
should be pronounced with the penultima long. It is probably the 
same as yam (Tj'i?'^'), (in 1 Chron. iv. 34). There is no reason for 
identifying it with lambnlus. 

^ This incident, as well as the subsequent one of the dog (p. 19), are 
closely imitated in Marino's '' Adone," c. 14. — Lieb. 
I. C 


tliis intervention the lovers escape from tlie cave, but 
having partaken of the honey of their deliverers, which 
was of a noxions quality, they faint on the way, and 
during this swoon are passed as dead by the troops of 
Damas. Having at length recovered, they proceed in their 
flight [c. 4], and take up their abode with a man who 
poisons his brother, and afterwards accuses them of the 
murder ; a charge from which they are freed by the accuser 
laying violent hands on himself. With singular luck in 
meeting good company, they next quarter themselves with 
a robber. During their stay his habitation is burned by the 
troops of Damas, but the lovers escape from the eunuch, 
by alleging that they are the spectres of those whom 
the robber had murdered in his house. Further prose- 
cuting their flight they meet with the funeral of a young 
girl [c. 5], who is discovered, when on the point of inter- 
ment, to be yet alive. The sepulchre being left vacant, 
Sinonis and E-hodanes sleep in it during that night, and 
are again passed as corpses by their Babylonian pursuers 
[c. 6] ; but Sinonis having made free with the dead 
clothes,^ is taken up while attempting to dispose of them, 
by Sorsechus, the magistrate of the district, who announces 
his intention of forwarding his jn'isoner to Babylon. In 
one of the respectable dwellings which they had visited in 
their flight, our lover's had enjoyed an opportunity of pro- 
viding themselves with poison, for an emergency of this 
description. Their design, however, being suspected by 
their guards, a soporific draught is substituted, of which 
our hero and heroine partake, and awaken to their great 
surprise, from the trance into which it had thrown them, 
when in the vicinity of Babylon. Sinonis in despair stabs 
herself, but not mortally ; and the compassion of Soraechus 
being now excited, he consents to the escape of his captives 
[c. 7], who experience a new series of adventures, rivalling 
in probability those which have been related. They first 
come to a temple of Venus, situated in an island of the 
Euphrates, where the wound of Sinonis is cured [c. 11]. 
Thence they seek refuge with a cottager, whose daughter 
being employed to dispose of some trinkets belonging to 

1 Which, according to custom, should have been burnt.— Gronovius, 
Thes. Grffic. Antiq. J. Potteri Archseol. Grfeca. Lib. iv. c. 3. 


Sinonis, is mistaken for our heroine, and Gannns is forth- 
with ai^]>risecl that sht^ had been seen in the neighbour- 
liood. The cottage girl, who had remarked the suspicions 
of tlie purchasers, flees with all possible dispatch. On her 
way home she enters a house, where she witnesses the 
horrible spectacle of a lover laying violent hands on himself, 
after murdering his mistress ; and, sprinkled with the blood 
of these unfortunate victims, she returns to her paternal 
mansion. Sinonis, perceiving from the report of this girl, 
that she could no longer remain with safety in her present 
habitation, prepares for departure [c. 13]. Ehodanes, 
before setting out with his mistress, salutes the peasant 
girl ; but Sinonis perceiving blood on his lips, and being 
aware whence it had come, is seized with transports of un- 
governable jealousy ; she is with difficulty prevented from 
stabbing her imaginary rival [c. 14], and flies to the house 
of Setapo, a wealthy but profligate Babylonian. Setapo 
immediately pays his addresses ; Sinonis feigns to yield to 
his solicitations, but contrives to intoxicate him in the 
course of the evening, and murders him during the night. 
Having escaped at daybreak, she is pursued by the slaves 
of Setapo, and committed to custody, in order to answer 
for the crime [c. 15]. By this time, however, the false in- 
telligence that Sinonis was discovered, had reached the 
king of Babylon, who signalizes the joyful news by a, 
general gaol delivery throughout his dominions, in the 
benefit of which the real Sinonis is of course included 
[c. 16]. While our heroine was experiencing such vicissi- 
tudes of fortune, Hyrcanus the dog of Ehodanes (for he too 
has his adventures,) scents out the place, where, it will be 
recollected, a lover had murdered his mistress. The father 
of Sinonis arrives at this spot while the animal is employed 
in devouring the remains of this unfortunate woman, and 
mistaking the dead body for that of his daughter, he gives 
it interment, and erects over it a monument, with the in- 
scription, "Here lies the beautiful Sinonis." — Ehodanes 
visiting this place a short while afterwards, and perceiving 
the inscription, adds to it, " and also the beautiful Eho- 
danes," (jccil 'Focavi]g b KaXo'c) but is prevented from 
accomplishing his intention of stabbing himself by the 
approach of the peasant girl, who had been the cause of 


tlie jealousy of Sinonis, and wlio informs liim tliat it was 
another than his mistress who had perished there [c. 18]. 
At this time the unfortunate detention and threatened 
punishment of Soraechus, by whom the lovers had origi- 
nally been allowed to escape, enables the Babylonian 
ofiicers to trace the flight of Ehodanes. He is in conse- 
quence delivered up to G-armus [c. 20], and is sj^eedily 
nailed to the cross by that monarch. While he is in this 
crisis, and while Garmus is dancing and carousing round 
the j^lace of execution, a messenger arrives with intelli- 
gence that Sinonis is about to be espoused by the king of 
Syria, into whose dominions she had ultimately escaped. 
Rhodanes is taken down from the cross, and appointed 
general of a Babylonish army, which is sent against that 
monarch. This is a striking but deceitful change of for- 
tune, as the inferior oflScers are ordered by G-armus to kill 
Ehodanes, should he obtain the victory, and to bring 
Sinonis alive to Babylon. The king of Syria is totally 
defeated, and Ehodanes recovers Sinonis ; but instead of 
being slain by the officers of his army, he is chosen king 
of the Babylonians. All this indeed had been clearly 
foreshown by the portent of the swallow, which was seen 
by Garmus, pursued by an eagle and a kite, and after 
escaping the talons of the former, became the victim of an 
enemy aj^j^arently less formidable ! 

The romance, of which the above account has been given, 
is divided into sixteen books.^ If we may judge of the 
original from the epitome, transmitted by Photius, the 

^ Photii Bibliotheca, cod. 94 ; but according to Suidas (sub voce 
'idfijSXixoQ) are comprised thirty -nine books. The story itself was de- 
rived from an eastern book, as lamblichus himself states. Chassang, 
Etude sur les Romans Grecs, p. xxviii.; Rohde,Der Griech. Eom.p. 364. 
Extensive use has been made of this romance, as may be seen fi'om the 
abstract of Photius in P. Von Zesen's translation (Amsterdam, 1646) of 
Mdlle. de Scudery's " Sophonisbe " (Afrikanische S.), where Cleoraedes 
and Sophonisbe, wrongly accused of murder, pass the night in a sepul- 
chre (see 1,001 Nacht., N. 247, V. 204, d. Bresl. Uebers) ; they resolve 
to drink poison, for which is, however, substituted a sleeping potion (cf. 
Romeo and Juliet 5 see pp. 61, 62, Habrocomas and Anthia, infra), and 
Merlin and Vivian are set free in a general jail delivery. Sophonisbe 
is bewailed as dead, in consequence of her name being inscribed on a 
tomb. See Cholevius (L.) deut. Rom. 17ten Jahrh. jp. 6, and Rohde. 
Gr. Rom., p. 377. 


groimd-work of the story was well conceived, since the 
close and eager pursuit by the eunuchs gives rise to narrow 
escapes, which might have been rendered interesting. But 
the jnirticular adventures are unnatural and monotonous. 
The hero and heroine generally evade the search of their 
inirsuers by passing as defuncts, or spirits, which pro- 
duces a disagreeable sameness in a subject which admitted 
of much variety. There is, besides, an unpleasant ferocity 
in the character of Sinonis, and too many of the scenes are 
laid among tombs and caverns, and the haunts of murderers. 
Indeed most of the incidents, though often abundantly 
ludicrous, are of a dark and gloomy cast ; a character 
which by no means appertains to the adventures in the 
subsequent romances of Heliodorus, Chariton, or Tatius. 

Besides these faults in the principal story, the episodes 
of Berenice, queen of Egypt [c. 17], and of the Temple of 
Venus, situated on an island formed by the confluence of 
the Euphrates and Tigris, seem to have been extremely 
tedious and ill placed. Part of the last ej^isode, however, 
is curious, as presenting us with a discussion resembling 
the Tensons, or pleas for the courts of love, in the middle 
ages. Mesopotamia, the youngest daughter of the priestess 
of Venus, had three lovers, on one of whom she bestowed 
a goblet from which she usually drank ; on the head of the 
second she placed a chaplet of flowers which had encircled 
her brow, while the third received a kiss. The lovers 
contend which had obtained the most distinguished mark 
of favour, and plead their cause in presence of Borochus, a 
distinguished amatory judge, who decides in favour of the 
kiss [c. 8]. 

lamblichus has been censured by Huet,^ for the awkward 
introduction of his episodes, and the inartistic disposition 
of the whole work. He seems, according to that author, 
to have entertained a complete contempt for the advice of 
Horace, "svith regard to hurrying his readers into the middle 
of the action — in medias res rapere ; — he never departs 
from the order of time, and trudges on according to the 
era of dates, with all the exactness of a chronologer. 

About two centuries elapsed from the death of lamb- 

^ Lettre de M. Hnet . . . I)e TOrigine des Romans, Paris, 1678, 
p. 51. 


liclius, till tlie composition of the Tlieagenes and Cliariclea 
of Heliodorus/ Bishop of Tricca, an author who in every 

^ Of the author of the -^thiopica nothing whatever is certainly known. 
There were numerous writers called Heliodorus (see Fabricius B, Gr. 
viii. 126, 127, and jNIeineke, Anal. Alex., p. 384), and the name is not 
sufficient warranty for identifying him absolutely with the Bishop of 
Tricca, as has hitherto usually been done from a passage in a writer 
of the fifth century, Socrates (v. 22, p. 640 of INIigne's Edition). 
Socrates speaks of " a prelate who introduced into his see the celibacy 
of the clergy, and who is reputed to be the author of a love-story, 
written in his youth, and entitled -^thiopica"' (of' 7rov///i«ra ipwriKct 
da'iri vvv TT^pKpkpiTctL u 1'soc wi' (Tvi'tTcc^aTO AiOioTTi, etc.). On the other 
hand, I cannot agree with Eohde in absolutely rejecting the belief 
which is I'ecorded by Socrates, chiefly on the ground of the internal 
evidence afforded by the work of its author's polytheistic and neo-Pytha- 
gorean ideas, the employment of demons in the old Greek sense, the 
supremacy given to Apollo, etc., features which reflect the cardinal 
tenets of Apollonius of Tyana. Nor is the recognition of malicious 
spirits and of witchcraft, as it seems to me, any argument against the 
Christianity of the author. Pagan deities were very generall}^ treated 
as devils by the early Christians, and the Greek canons impress one 
vividly with the reality of the belief in sorcerj'. There is nothing im- 
possible in a subsequent conversion of Heliodorus. Notwithstanding 
this decided, but insufficiently grounded, view of Rohde's, his is by far 
the most careful and interesting criticism of the ^thiopica which I have 
read. In particular his remarks upon the Gymnosophists, w^ho in the 
romance appear as tyjies of piety and godly wisdom, and whom Helio- 
dorus must have derived from Apollonius, deserve attention. " The 
Greeks could only be prompted to seek a special code of wisdom among 
the Ethiopians in consequence of the frequent custom of attributing 
Indian traditions to Ethiopians. "While, for the most part, but a few 
brief and vague passages mention the 'Philosophy' of the Ethiopians, 
Apollonius alone seems to have ascribed the Indian Gymnosophists, .so 
well known from the accounts of Onesicritus, and popularized by their 
early incorporation into the Alexander romance, to the Ethiopian soil, 
and boldly spoken of these Ethiopian sages, as if from his own know- 
ledge. I do not think I am mistaken in supposing that Heliodor, 
following his model, located in his land of sun that band of need- 
nothing sages who, as prophets, as Brahman-like, independent coun- 
selloi's of the king, liAe only for what is good and noble. We should 
not be surprised to find the characteristics of the Indians blended with 
those of Apollonius's Ethiopian Gymnosophists, the less so that for 
Heliodorus, with his Greek notions, there would be no essential 
difference between Indians and Ethiopians ; they would be to him 
merely ' eastern and western Ethiopians,' governed by one king at 
Meroe. Even as Apollonius, the sun- worshipper, travels to the ' home 
of Helios and the Indians ' to drink of the higher lore of those who 
dwell nearer to Helios, the fount of Life and of AVisdom, so Heliodorus 
lets his chosen couple, under the guidance of Helios-Apollo himself, at 


partiL-uhir, but especially in the arrangement of his fable, 
far excelled his predecessors. 

There are three points chiefly to be considered in a novel 
or romance, the Subject, the Disjjosition, and the Orna- 
ments ; a classification which may be regarded as compre- 
hending the means of estimating the most material beauties 
and defects of any fictitious narrative. 

In adopting these principles of criticism, I do not mean 
to aflirm that a good work can be written by rule, or that 
a romance is excellent merely in j^roportion to its con- 
formity to certain critical precepts. Nothing, for instance, 
can be more irregular than Tristram Shandy, and nothing 
can be more regular than some of the novels of Cumber- 
land ; yet no one prefers the novels of Cumberland to the 

last reach the sunny land of the wise Ethiopians as the worthiest goal 
of life's long arduous journey." — Kohde, Griech. Eom., p. 440, etc. 

A writer of the fourteenth century, Nicephorus Callistus (Hist. Eceles. 
ii. '296), relates that a synod having given Heliodorus, the Bishop of 
Tricca. the choice either to burn his I'omance or renounce his bishopric, 
the prelate preferred the latter alternative. In favour of the bishop's 
authorship of the work, the superior morality of the book compared 
with other Greek fiction has been adduced. Koraes, who edited the 
work in 1804, professes to see Christian influence in numerous passages. 
The earliest Greek impression of the Ethiopics was edited at Basle in 
1535, in 4to., by Vincent (Jbsopoens, who purchased the MS. from a 
soldier who had pillaged the library of Matthias Corvinus at Buda. 
This edition was followed by that of Commelinus, 1596, 8vo., and of 
Bourdelotius, printed at Paris in 1619. The last and best Greek edition 
is that of Koraes, Paris, 1804, 2 vols., Svo. Soon after the Romance 
was first published in Greek, it appeared in almost all the modern lan- 
guages of Europe. The whole work was turned into English prose by 
Thomas Underdown, and printed 1577 : part of it was also versified in 
English hexameters, by Abraham Eraunce, and published in this form, 
1591, Svo. There have been at least four French translations, the 
earliest of which was by Amyot, whose version is said to have so 
pleased Francis I., that he presented him to the abbacy of Bellozane. 
Strange, that ecclesiastical preferment should have been obtained b}" the 
translation of a work, of which the original composition is said to have 
cost its author deposition from a bishopric I 

Theagenes and Chariclea soon became a favourite work in France. 
We are told in particular, that the preceptor of a monastery, at which 
Kacine was educated, having found his pupil engaged in its perusal, 
took the book from him. The young poet, having procured another 
copy, was again detected at the same employment by his pedagogue, 
whom he now told that he was welcome to burn it, as he had got the 
whole by heart. 


work of Sterne. A man of genius will produce an interest- 
ing composition in defiance of the laws of criticism, while 
one without talent will compose a work by rule, as a stone- 
cutter may hew out a statue according to the most ap- 
proved proj^ortions, which will be totally lifeless and 
insignificant. But though the province of criticism is not 
to confine genius to one narrow and trodden path, it does 
not follow that critical rules are to be altogether dis- 
regarded. The work of the man of genius would have 
been still better had he not wantonly transgressed them, 
and even the labour produced by the person of inferior 
talents, would have been worse had he not rigidly adhered 
to them. In estimating all the productions of the fine 
arts, we are obliged to analyze them, and to describe them 
by their grosser parts, as the etherial portion, or that which 
pervades the heart and feelings, cannot be represented. 
We jiidge of the paintings of Raphael, and criticise them 
under the heads of design and invention and colouring; 
but we can no more express the emotions they produce, 
than we can paint the odours of the rose, though we 
delineate its form and portray its colours. 
The story, or subject, of 

Theagenes and Chariclea,^ 

does not possess any peculiar excellence, as will Si'p'pea.Y 
from the following summary. 

The action of the romance is supj^osed to take place 
previous to the age of Alexander the G-reat, while Egypt 
was tributary to the Persian monarch s. During that 
period a queen of Ethiopia, called Persina, having viewed 
at an amorous crisis a statue of Andromeda, gives birth to 
a daughter of fair complexion." Fearing that her husband 
might not think the cause proportioned to the effect, she 
commits the infant in charge to Sisimithrus, an Ethiopian 
senator, and chief of the G-ymnosophists, and deposits in 
his hands a ring and some writings, explaining the circum- 
stances of her birth [bk. iv., c. 8; bk. ii., c. 31]. The 
child is named Chariclea, and remains for seven years with 

^ AlOiiOTriKiov f3ij3Xia CfKa. 

2 Cf. the similar incident in Tasso's Gerus. Lib. XII. 23, etc. 


lier reputed father. At the end of this period he becomes 
doubtful of her power to preserve her chastity any longer 
in her native country. He therefore determines to carry 
her alonp: with him, on an embassy to which he had been 
appointed to Oroondates, satrap of Egypt [ii. 31]. In 
that land he accidently meets Charicles, priest of Delphos, 
who was travelling on account of domestic afflictions, and 
to him he transfers the care of Chariclea. Charicles brings 
her to Delphos, and destines her for the wife of his nephew 
Alcamenus. In order to reconcile her mind to this alliance, 
he delivers her over to Calasiris, an Egyptian priest [ii. 26], 
who at that j^eriod resided at Delphos, and undertook to 
prepossess her in favour of the young man. About the 
same time, Theagenes, a Thessalian, and descendant of 
Achilles, comes to Delphos, for the ^performance of some 
sacred rite [ii. 34] : Theagenes and Chariclea having seen 
each other in the temple, become mutually enamoured 
[iii. 5]. The contrivance of this incident seems to be 
borrowed from the Hero and Leander of Musseus, where 
the lovers meet in the fane of Venus at Sestos.^ Places of 
worship, however, were in those days the usual scene of 
the first interview of lovers, as women were at other times 
much confined and almost inaccessible to admirers. There 
too, even in a later period, the most romantic attachments 
wer^? formed. It was in the chapel of St. Clair, at Avignon, 
that Petrarch first beheld Laura; and Boccaccio became 
enchanted with Mary of Arragon in the church of the 
Cordeliers, at Naples. 

Calasiris, who had been engaged to influence the mind 
of Chariclea in favour of her intended husband, is warned 
in a vision by Apollo that he should return to his own 
country, and take Theagenes and Chariclea along with 
him [iii. 12]. Henceforth his whole attention is directed 
to deceive Charicles, and effect his escape from Delphos. 
Having met with some Phoenician merchants [iv. 16], and 
having informed the lovers of his intention, he sets sail 
along with them for Sicily, to which country the Phoenician 
vessel was bound [v. 1] ; but soon after, passing Zacynthus, 
the ship is attacked by pirates [v. 24], who carry Calasiris 

^ This can hardly have been, as in all probability Musjeus lived at a 
later date than Heliodorus. — Lies. 


and those under his protection to the coast of Egypt [v. 27]. 
On the banks of the Nile, Trachinus, the captain of the 
l^irates, prepares a feast to solemnize his nuptials with 
Chariclea [v. 29], but Calasiris, with considerable ingenuity, 
having persuaded Pelorus, the second in command, that 
Chariclea is enamoured of him [v. 30], a contest naturally 
arises between him and Trachinus during the feast, and 
the other pirates, espousing different sides of the quarrel, 
are all slain except Pelorus, who is attacked and put to 
flight by Theagenes [v. 32]. The stratagem of Calasiris, 
however, is of little avail, except to himself: for im- 
mediately after the contest, while Calasiris is sitting on a 
hill at some distance, Theagenes and Chariclea are seized 
by a band of Egyi3tian robbers [v. 33], who conduct them 
to an establishment formed on an island in a remote lake. 
Thyamis, the captain of the banditti, becomes enamoured 
of Chariclea, and declares an intention of espousing her 
[i. 19]. Chariclea pretends that • she is the sister of 
Theagenes, in order that the jealousy of the robber may 
not be excited, and the safety of her lover endangered. 
This deception is practised in other parts of the romance, 
jDarticulariy when Arsace becomes enamoured of Theagenes 
at Memphis. The incident has been also adoj^ted in many 
of the subsequent G-reek romances, particularly in Ismene 
and Ismenias, who declare themselves to be brother and 
sister when they meet in a servile condition in the house 
of Sostratus [ix. 11].^ This notion was perhaps suggested 
to the author of Theagenes and Chariclea, by some passages 
in the Old Testament. — Heliodorus was a bishop, and 
though he did not arrive at that dignity till after the 
composition of his romance, he must have found, in the 
course of liis studies, that Sarah and Abram jmssed, and 
for similar reasons, for brother and sister while in Egypt 
[1 Mos. xii. 13, XX. 2], and that Isaac and Eebecca im- 
posed on the people of G-erar under pretence of the same 
relationship [1 Mos. xxvi. 7]. 

Chariclea, however, is not long compelled to assume the 
character of the sister of Theagenes. The colony is speedily 
destroyed by the forces of the satrap of Egyj^t [i. 27], who 

^ See infra, p. 79 of the present volume. 


was excited to this act of authority by a comi)laint from 
Nausicles, a Greek merchant, that the banditti liad carried 
oif his mistress. Thyamis, the captain of the robbers, 
escapes by flii^ht, and Cuemon, a young Athenian, who had 
l»een detained in the colony, and with whom Theagenes 
had formed a friendship during his confinement, sets out 
in quest of him. Theagenes and Chariclea depart soon 
after on their way to a certain village, where they had 
agreed to meet Cnemou [ii. 18], but are intercepted on the 
road by the satrap's forces [v. 7]. Theagenes is sent as a 
present to the king of Persia ; and Chariclea being falsely 
claimed by Nausicles as his mistress, is conducted to his 
house. Here Calasiris had accidentally fixed his abode 
[ii. 21, V. 33], since his separation from Theagenes and 
Chariclea ; and was also doing the honours of the house 
to Cnemon in the landlord's absence [ii. 22]. Chariclea 
being recognized by Calasiris, Nausicles abandons the 
claim to her which he had advanced [v. 11, 12], and sets 
sail with Cnemon for G-reece [vi. 8], while Calasiris and 
Chariclea jiroceed in search of Theagenes. On arriving at 
Memphis, they find that, with his usual good luck, he had 
again fallen into the power of Thyamis, and was besieging 
that capital [vii. 1] along with the robber. A treaty of 
peace, however, is sj^eedily concluded. Thyamis is dis- 
covered to be the son of Calasiris, and is elected high-priest 
of Mempliis. Arsace, who commanded in that city, in the 
absence of her husband, falls in love with Theagenes ; but, 
as he perseveres in resisting all her advances, and in main- 
taining his fidelity to Chariclea, she orders him to be put 
to the torture : she also commands her nurse, who was the 
usual confidante of her amours, and instrument of her 
cruelty, to poison Chariclea ; but the cup-bearer having 
given her the goblet intended for Chariclea, she expires 
in convulsions [viii. 7, 8]. This, however, serves as a pre- 
text to condemn Chariclea as a poisoner, and she is accor- 
dingly appointed to be burnt. After she had ascended the 
pile, and the fire had been lighted, she is saved for that 
day by the miraculous effects of the stone Pantarbe, which 
she wore on her finger,^ and which warded oft' the flames 

^ See note to Ilabroconias and Antliia, p. 62. 


from lier person [viii. 9, 11]. During the ensuing night a 
messenger arrives from Oroondates, the husband of Arsace, 
who was at that time carrying on a war against the Ethio- 
pians [vii. 29] : he had been informed of the misconduct 
of his wife, and had despatched one of his officers to Mem- 
phis, with orders to bring Theagenes and Chariclea to his 
camp. Arsace hangs herself; but the lovers are taken 
prisoners, on their way to Oroondates, by the scouts of the 
Ethiopian army, and are conducted to Hydaspes, who was 
at that time besieging Oroondates in Syene [ix. 1]. This 
city having been taken, and Oroondates vanquished in a 
great battle, Hydaspes returns to his capital, Meroe, where, 
by advice of his Gymnosophists, he proposes to sacrifice 
Theagenes and Chariclea to the sun and moon, the deities 
of Ethiopia [x. 6]. As virgins were alone entitled to the 
privilege of being accej^ted as victims, Chariclea is sub- 
jected to a trial of chastity, an unfortunate precedent for 
novelists, as we shall afterwards find. Theagenes, while 
on the very brink of sacrifice, j^ei'forms many feats of 
strength and dexterity. A bull, which was his companion 
in misfortune, having broken from the altar, Theagenes 
follows him on horseback, subdues him, and returns on his 
back.^ At length, when the two lovers are about to be 
immolated, Chariclea, by means of the ring and fillet which 
had been attached to her at her birth, and had been care- 
fully preserved, is discovered to be the daughter of Hy- 
daspes, which is farther confirmed by the testimony of 
Sisimithres, once her reputed father ; and by the oppor- 
tune arrival of Charicles, priest of Delphos, who was 
wandering through the world in search of Chariclea. After 
some demur on the part of the Gymnosophists, Chariclea 
obtains her own release and that of Theagenes, is united 
to him in marriage, and acknowledged as heiress of the 
Ethiopian empire. 

Such is the abstract of the story of Theagenes and 
Chariclea. Now the chief excellencies of the story, or 
nucla materia of a romance, are Novelty, Probability, and 

^ This exercise, called TavpoKa9a\pia, Avas intpnded to inure youth 
to martial fatigue, and was much practised in Thessaly, the country of 
Theagenes, whence it was afterwards introduced at Rome. 


Variety of lucident ; iu each of which views it may he 
|>roper to examine this fictitious narrative. 

Of the claims of Hehodorus to originality of invention 
we are incompetent judges, as the romances that pre- 
ceded Theagenes and Chariclea have for the most part 
perished. Many of the adventures, however, are probably 
taken from Diogenes and lamblichus ; and it is even sus- 
pected that the leading events in the story have been 
founded on a tragedy of Sophocles, called the Captives 
(Ai\lda\(x)Toi), not now extant.^ A few of the incidents 
seem also to have been borrowed from the sacred writings. 
The stratagem of Sarah and Abraham has been already 
mentioned. From the frequent perusal of the Scrij^tures, 
the bishop may have acquired his fondness for visions ; 
and the powerful effects produced by the statue of Andi'o- 
nieda on the complexion of his heroine, would not appear 
impossible to one who knew the success of the contrivance 
by which Jacob obtained so large a portion of the lambs 
of Laban, 

As to i>robabiHty of incident, Heliodorus outrages all 
verisimilitude in different ways ; as, for examj^le, by the 
extraordinary inteiTiews which he brings about, and the 
summary manner in which he disposes of a character which 
has become supernumerary. When it is convenient for 
him that two persons should meet, one of them comes to 
travel in a country where apparently he had nothing to 
do ; and when a character becomes suj^erfluous, the author 
finds no better resource than informing us that he was bit 
by an asp, or died suddenly in the night. Unexpected 
events no doubt enliven a narrative ; but if they greatly 
violate the order and course of nature, that belief in an 
ideal presence, which is essential to relish or interest, is 
totally overthrown ; and the credence of reality being once 
destroyed, the waking dream cannot again be restored, 
nor can the reader conceive even the probable incidents as 
passing l^efore him. 

In the romance of Heliodorus, the changes of Fortune 
also are too frequent and too much of the same nature, as 

' Bourdelotii Heliodorus, Animadvers. p. 3. 


all the adventures and distresses in the book originate in 
the hero or heroine falling into the hands of robbers. This, 
it is true, gives rise to many romantic incidents, but also 
produces an unvaried and tiresome recurrence of similar 
misfortunes. In works of art, we wish for that diversity 
exhibited in the appearances of nature, and require that 
every step should bring to view some object, or some 
arrangement, which has not been previously presented. 

The work of Heliodorus, however, has received consider- 
able embellishment from the dispositio7i of the fable, and 
the artful manner in which the tale is disclosed. The 
gradual unfolding of the story of Theagenes and Chariclea, 
the suspense in which the mind is held, and the subse- 
quent evolution of what seemed intricate, is praised by 
Tasso, who greatly admired, and was much indebted to 
Heliodorus : "To keep the hearer," he says, " passing in 
suspense from involved situation to distinct issue, from 
the general to the particular, is Virgil's constant art, and 
one of the resources which render Heliodorus so attrac- 
tive." ^ Nor are the incidents arranged in the chronolo- 
gical order of the preceding romances, and of modern 
novels. The work begins in the middle of the story, in 
imitation of the epic jDoems of G-reece and Eome, in a, 
manner the most romantic, and best fitted to excite curiosity. 
Commencing immediately after the contest had taken place 
among the pirates, near the mouth of the Mle,for the posses- 
sion of Chariclea, it represents a band of Egyptian banditti, 
assembled at the dawn of day on the summit of a promon- 
tory, and looking towards the sea. A vessel loaded with 
spoil is lying at anchor. The banks of the Nile are covered 
with dead bodies, and the fragments of a feast. As the 
robbers advance to seize the vessel, a young lady of exqui- 
site beauty, whose appearance is charmingly described, and 
whom we afterwards find to be Chariclea, is represented 
sitting on a rock, while a young man lies wounded beside 
her. The narrative proceeds in the person of the author, 
till the meeting of Cnemon and Calasiris in the house of 
Nausicles, where Calasiris relates the early history of 
Chariclea, the rise of her affection for Theagenes, and her 

^ Opere, vol. x. p. 108. ed. Venezia. 


captiiiv l»y the pirates. It must, however, he eonfesseJ, 
that the author has shown Httle judgment in making one 
of the characters in the romance recount the adventures of 
a hero and a heroine. This is the most unusual and the 
worst species of narration that can be adopted, especially 
"wdiere an incipient passion is to be painted. The hero or 
heroine, while relating their story, may naturally describe 
their own feelings ; and an author is supposed to possess 
the privilege of seeing into the hearts of his characters ; 
but it can never be imagined that a third person in a novel 
should be able perceive and portray all the sentiments and 
emotions of the principal actors. 

But the defects in the plan of the work do not end with 
the narrative of Calasiris. After the author has resumed 
the story, he destroys our interest in every event by pre- 
viously informing us that the persons concerned had 
dreamed it was to take place. The effect, too, of one of 
the most striking situations in the work is injured by a 
fault in disposition. When Chariclea is about to be sacri- 
ficed in Ethiopia, we feel no terror for her fate, nor that 
unexpected joy at her deliverance, so much extolled by 
Huet ; ^ as we know she is the daughter of Hydaspes, and 
has her credentials along with her. This knowledge, it is 
true, increases the pleasure that arises from sympathy with 
Hydaspes, and entering into his emotions ; but the interest 
of the romance would have been greater, had the birth of 
Chariclea been concealed till the conclusion. This could 
have been done with slight alterations, and would have 
formed, if I may be allowed a technical word, an upayvu)- 
piaig, not only to the characters in the work, but also to the 

Nor can the disposition of the episodes be much com- 
mended. The adventures of Cnemon, which seem to be 
taken from the story of Hyppolitus," have no great beauty 
or interest in themselves ; they do not flow naturally from 

' Sacrificii horrori inopina succedit laetitia, ob liberatam periculo 
pnpsenti puellam. — Huct, de Origine Fabularum. p. 37. 

- Under the figures of I'etosiris and Thyamis we discern Eteocles 
and Polynice, while the closing situation between Hydaspes and Cha- 
riclea recalls that of Agamemnon preparing to sacrifice Iphigenia. 
— Chassang, Etude, p. xxxiii. 


the main subject, and are introduced too early. The only 
other episode of much length is the account of the siege of 
Syene, and the battle between Oroondates and Hydaspes, 
which occupy the whole of the ninth book ; and, however 
well described, entirely take away our concern in the fate 
of Chariclea, and in fact, in proportion to the excellence of 
the description, at the very moment when the story is ap- 
proaching to a crisis, and when our interest would have 
been raised the highest, had our impressions remained un- 

Next to the nature of the subject, and the arrangement 
of the incidents, the Oriiaments of a romance should be 
chiefly considered ; of these the most important are the 
Style, the Characters, the Sentiments, and the Descrip- 

The Style of Heliodorus has been blamed as too figura- 
tive and poetical ; but this censure seems chiefly applicable 
to those passages where he has interwoven verses of the 
Greek poets, from whom he has frequently borrowed. All 
his comparisons are said to be taken from Homer ; but 
Sophocles, whom he often imitates, and sometimes copies, 
appears to have been his favourite author. Yet, consider- 
ing the period in which Heliodorus lived, his style is re- 
markable for its elegance and perspicuity, and would not 
have disgraced an earlier age. " His diction," says Photius,^ 
'* is such as becomes the subject ; it possesses great sweet- 
ness and simplicity, and is free from affectation ; the words 
used are expressive, and if sometimes figurative, as might 
be expected, they are always j^erspicuous, and such as 
clearly exhibit the object of which the delineation is 
attempted. The periods too are constructed so as to cor- 
respond with the variations of the story; they have an 
agreeable alternation of length and shortness ; and, finally, 
the whole composition is such as to have a correspondence 
with the narration." 

In the painting of Character, Heliodorus is extremely 
defective ; Theagenes, in particular, is a weak and insi2:)id 
personage. The author, indeed, possesses a wonderful art 
of introducing those who are destined to bear a part in the 

^ Cod. Ixxiii. p. 158. 


romance, in situations calculated to excite sympathy, Lut 
as we become acquainted with them we lose all concern in 
their fate from their insij>idity. In fact, Chariclea is the 
only interesting,^ person in the work. She is represented as 
endued with ij:reat strength of mind, united to a delicacy 
of feeling, and an address which turns every situation to 
the best advantage. Indeed in all the ancient romances 
the heroine is invariably the most engaging and spirited 
character ; — a circumstance which cannot but surprise, 
when we consider what an inferior part the women of 
Greece acted in society, and how little they mingled in the 
affairs of life. 

Heliodorus has been ridiculed l\v Gabriel Gucret, the 
author of Le Parnasse Rcformc, for having attributed to 
his hero such excessive modesty, that he gave his mis- 
tress a box on the ear when she approached to embrace 
him [vii. 7]. These railleries, however, are founded on 
misrepresentation. Theagenes met Chariclea at Memphis, 
but mistaking both her j^erson and character from her 
wretched dress and appearance, he inflicted a blow to get 
rid of her importunities — an unhandsome reception, no 
doubt, to any woman, but which proves nothing as to his 
sentiments concerning Chariclea. The reader will perhaps 
remark as he advances, that ^^ii'ates and robbers have a 
principal share in the action of the succeeding Greek 
romances, as well as in the Ethiopic adventures. Their 
leaders are frequently the second characters, and occupy 
the part of the unsuccessful lovers of the heroine ; but are 
not always painted as endued with any peculiar bad quali- 
ties, or as exciting horror in the other persons of the work. 
Nor is this rej^resentation inconsistent with the manners 
of the period in which the action of these romances is 
placed. In the early ages of Greece, piracy was not ac- 
counted a dishonourable employment. In the ancient 
jwets, those that sail along the shore are usually accosted 
with the question, whether they are pirates, as if the en- 
quiry could not be considered a reproach from those who 
were anxious to be informed, and as if those who were in- 
terrogated would not scruple to acknowledge their vocation. 
Even at the time of the Peloponnesian war, the ^tolians, 
Acarnanians, and some other nations, subsisted by piracy ; 

I. D 


and in tlie early ages of Greece, it was the oeciijiiation of all 
those who resided near the coast. " The Grecians," says 
Thucydides, in the very beginning of his History [i. 5], 
" took up the trade of piracy under the command of persons 
of the greatest ability amongst them ; and for the sake of 
enriching such adventurers and subsisting their poor, they 
landed and plundered by surprise unfortified places, or 
scattered villages. Nor was this an employment of re- 
proach, but rather an instrument of glory. Some jjeople 
of the continent are even at the j^resent day a proof of this, 
as they still attribute honour to such exploits, if j^erformed 
with due respect and humanity." 

Heliodorus abounds in DescrijDtions, some of which are 
extremely interesting. His accounts of many of the cus- 
toms of the Egyi^tians are said to be very correct, and he 
describes particular places with an accuracy which gives an 
ap23earance of reality to his romance.^ He seldom, how- 
ever, delineates the great outhnes of nature, or touches on 
those accidents which render scenery sublime or beautiful 
— he chiefly delights in minute descriptions of the pomp of 
embassies and ]3rocessions, and, as was natural in a priest, 
of sacrifices, or religious rites. These might be tiresome 
or even disgusting in a modei-n novel, but the representa- 
tion of manners, of customs, and of ceremonies, is infinitely 
more valuable in an old romance, than pictures of general 

There can be no doubt that Theagenes and Chariclea 
has supplied with materials many of the early writers of 
Romance. It was imitated in the composition of Achilles 
Tatius, and subsequent Greek fablers ; and although I 
cannot trace the resemblance which is said to exist between 
the work of Heliodorus, and that species of modern novel 
first introduced by Eichardson,^ it was unquestionably the 
model of those heroic fictions, which, through the wi'itings 
of Gomberville and Scudery, became for a considerable 
period so popular and prevalent in France. The modern 

^ Scholl (History of Greek Literature, iii. p. 154), however, disputes 
the accuracy of Heliodorus, and considers his descriptions imaginary. 
See also Villemain, Melanges Historiques, p. 425, Essai sur les romans 
grecs, and M. Chassang, Histoire du Eoman dans I'antiquite, p. 425, in 
the same sense. - Barbauld's Preface to Richardson. 


Italian poets have also availed themselves of the incidents 
that occur in the work of Heliodorus/ Thus the circum- 
stances of the birth and early life of Clorinda, related by 
Arsete in the twelfth canto of the Jerusalem Delivered, 
are taken, with hardly any variation, from the story of the 
infancy of Chariclea." The proposed sacrifice and subse- 
quent discovery of the birth of Chariclea have likewise been 

^ Giambattista Basile took also from it the subject of his " Teagene." 

- -' In Ethiopia once Senapus reign'd, 

(And still perchance he rules tlie happy land) 

Wlio kept the precepts given by Mary's son. 

Where yet the sable race his doctrines own. 

There I a pagan liv'd, removed from man, 

The Queen's attendant midst the female train. 

Though native gloom was o'er her features spread, 

Her beauty triumph'd through the dusky shade. 

Her husband lov'd — but ah! was doomed to prove 

At once th' extremes of jealousy and love : 

He kept her close, secluded from mankind, 

Within a lonely deep recess contin'd ; 

While the sage matron mild submission paid, 

And what her lord decreed, with joy obey'd. 
Her pictured room a sacred story shows, 

Where, rich with life, each mimic figure glows : 

There, white as snow, appears a beauteous maid, 

And near a dragon's hideous form display 'd. 

A champion through the beast a javelin sends. 

And in his blood the monster's bulk extends. 
Here oft the Queen her secret faults confess'd, 

And prosti'ate here her humble vows address'd. 

At length her womb disburthen'd gave to view 

(Her offspring thou) a child of snow\' hue. 

Struck with th' unusual birth, with looks amaz'd. 

As on some strange portent, the matron gaz'd ; 

She knew what fears possessed her husband's mind. 

And hence to hide thee fi'om his sight designed, 

And, as her own, expose to public view 

A new-born infant like herself in hue : 

And since the tower, in which she then i-emain'd 

Alone her damsels and myself contain'd ; 

To me, who loved her with a faithful mind, 

Her infant charge she unbaptiz'd consign'd, 

AVith tears and sighs she gave thee to my care, 

Kcmote from thence the precious pledge to bear! 

What tongues her sorrows and her plaints can tell. 

How oft she press'd thee with a last farewell '' etc. 

Gerus. Liberat. Hoole's version, canto xii. v. 161, etc. 


imitated in tlie Pastor Fido of G-uarini, and through it in 
the Astrea of D'Urfe. 

Eacine had at one time intended writing a drama on the 
subject of this romance, a plan which has been accom- 
plished by Dorat, in his tragedy of Theagenes and Chari- 
clea, which was acted at Paris in the year 1762. It also 
suggested the x^lot of an old English tragi-comedy by 
J. G-ough, entitled The Strange Discovery (1640). 

Hardy, the French poet, wrote eight tragedies in verse 
on the same subject, without materially altering the ground- 
work of the romance, — an instance of literary prodigality 
which is perhaps unexampled. The story, though well 
fitted for narrative, is unsuitable for tragedy, which indeed 
is acknowledged by Dorat in his preliminary discourse. 
" I was seized," observes he, " with enthusiasm ; I raised a 
tottering edifice with romantic proportions, and wrote with 
inconceivable warmth a cold and languid drama." 

If we may judge by success, the events of the romance 
are better adapted to furnish materials to the artist than 
the tragic poet. Two of the most striking incidents that 
occur in the work of Heliodorus have been finely deli- 
neated by Raphael, in separate paintings, in which he was 
assisted by Giulio Eomano. In one he has seized the 
moment when Theagenes and Chariclea meet in the temple 
of Delphos, and Chariclea j^resents Theagenes with a torch 
to kindle the sacrifice [iii. 6] . In the other he has chosen for 
his subject the capture of the Tyrian ship, in which Calasiris 
was conducting Theagenes and Chariclea to the coast of 
Sicily. The vessel is suj^posed to have already struck to the 
pirates, and Chariclea is exhibited, by the light of the 
moon, in a suppliant posture, imploring Trachinus that she 
might not be separated from her lover and Calasiris [v. 26] .^ 

Theagenes and Chariclea was received with much aj)- 
plause in the age in which it appeared. The poi^ularity of 
a work invariably produces imitation ; — and hence the 
style of composition which had recently been introduced, 
was soon adopted by various writers.^ 

^ I have made several attempts to verify this statement and ascertain 
the whereabouts of these pictures, but witliout success. Ed. 

- It would even appear that commentaries had been written upon it. 
Rohde, pp. 443 and 522. 


Of these, Achilles Tatius, the author of the Erotica, or 

Leucippe and Clitophon,^ 

comes next to Heliodoriis in time, and perhaps in merit. 
Though in many respects he has imitated his predecessor, 
it may in the first place be remarked, that he has adopted 
a mode of narrative totally different. The author intro- 
duces himself as gazing at the picture of Europa, which 
was placed in the temple of Venus in Sidon. While thus 
employed, he is accosted by Clitoplion, who, without pre- 
vious acquaintance, relates to him his whole adventures, 
which are comprised in eight books. This way of intro- 
ducing the story is no doubt very absurd, but when once 
it is commenced, the plan of narration is preferable to that 
part of Theagenes and Chariclea which is told by an in- 
ferior character in the work. 

The following is the story of the romance : — Clitoj^hon 
resided at his father's house in Tyre, where his cousin 
Leucippe came to seek refuge from a war which was at 
that time carried on against her native country [i. 4]. 
These young relatives became mutually enamoured, and 

^ "AxiXAfWf Taris 'AXf ^arcpfwc,'EpainK:d)i' jSitXia j;,or T« kutu XevKiTnrjjv 
Kai K\tiTo<pwi'Ta. Ed, Boden. Lipsia?, 1776. Little is known of Tatius. 
Suidas (Lexic. 'Ax''^-^- Tonot) has a very brief notice of him, according to 
which he became a Christian subsequently to the composition of Leucippe 
and Clitophon, and was raised to a bishopric. He is supposed by some to 
have lived in the fourth century, but Boden thinks he must have been later, 
because in some of his descriptions (Ed. Hercher. xlii. 13-18) he has ob- 
viously imitated the poet Musffius (vers. 92-98), whom he thinks posterior 
to that time. He was a rhetorician of Alexandria, and is said (but this 
is impi'obablc) to have composed various treatises connected with philo- 
logy, astronomy, and history. He was perhaps a contemporary of 
Nonnus. There is an epigram in praise of him, particularly of the 
chastity of his romance, by the Emperor Leo Philosnphus (Anthol. Gr. 
ix. 203). The lines have also been attributed to rhotius, but it is not 
probable he was the author, if we consider the opinion he gives of the 
work of Tatius in his Myriabibla (cod. 87). Jerome Commelinus first 
undertook an edition of this romance ; but died before it was completed ; 
it was published by his nephew in 1601. About forty yeai's afterwards 
a more perfect edition was given by iSalmasius, at Leyden, and the work 
was illustrated by a number of notes, which have been generally added 
to the more recent impressions. There have been numerous translations 
of the work ; an English version, by A. Hodges, was printed at ( )xford 
in 1638, and there is another English edition in Bohn's Classical Library. 


Leiicippe's mother liaying discovered Clitoplion one night 
in the chamber of her daughter, the lovers resolved to 
avoid the effects of her anger by flight [ii. 30]. Accom- 
panied by Clinias, a friend of Clitoplion, they sailed in the 
first instance for Berytus. A conversation which took 
place between Clitoplion and Clinias during the voyage, 
seems to have been suggested by the singular disquisition 
contained in the "Epwrec, attributed to Luciaii, and usually 
published in his works. After a short stay at Berytus, 
the fugitives set out for Alexandria : the vessel was wrecked 
on the third day of the voyage [iii. 1], but Clitoj^hon and 
Leucippe, adhering with great presence of mind to the 
same plank, were driven on shore near Pelusium in Egypt 
[iii. 5]. At this place they hired a vessel to carry them 
to Alexandria, but while sailing up the Nile they were 
seized by a band of robbers who infested the banks of the 
river [iii. 9]. The robbers were soon after attacked by the 
Egyptian forces, commanded by Charmides, to whom 
Clitoplion escaped during the heat of the engagement — 
Leucij^pe, however, remained in the power of the enemy, 
who, with much solemnity, apparently ripped u-p our 
heroine close to the army of Charmides, and in the sight 
of her lover, who was prevented from interfering by a deep 
fosse wliich separated the two armies [iii. 15]. The ditch 
having been filled up, Clitophon in the course of the night 
went to immolate himself on the spot where Leucippe had 
been interred. He arrived at her tomb, but was prevented 
from executing his purpose by the sudden aj^pearance of 
his servant Satyrus, and of Menelaus, a young man who 
had sailed with him in the vessel from Berytus. These two 
persons had also escajDcd from the shipwreck, and had 
afterwards fallen into the power of the robbers. By them 
Leucippe had been accommodated with a false uterus, 
made of sheep's skin, which gave rise to the deceptio visus 
above related [iii. 19-23]. At the command of Menelaus, 
Leucipi^e issued from the tomb [iii. 17], and proceeded 
with Clitoj)hon and Menelaus to the quarters of Char- 
mides [iii. 23]. In a short time this commander became 
enamoured of Leucippe [iv. 6], as did also Grorgias, one of 
his ofiicers. Gorgias gave her a potion calculated to in- 
spire her with reciprocal j^assion, but which, being too 


stroiiiT^, affoc'tod her -with a species of madness of a very 
indeeoroiis character.^ She is cured, however, by Chaereas, 
another person who had fallen in love with her [v. 13 \ 
and had discovered the secret of the potion from the ser- 
vant of Gorii^ias [iv. 15] . Takinoj Chaereas along with 
them, Clitophon and Leucippe sail for Alexandria. Soon 
after their arrival, Leucippe was carried off from the neigh- 
bourhood of that place, and hurried on board a vessel by 
a troop of banditti employed by Chaereas. Clitophon pur- 
sued the vessel, but when just coming up with it he saw 
the head of a i:>erson he mistook for Leucippe struck off 
by the robbers [v. /]. Disheartened by this incident, he 
relinquished the pursuit and returned to Alexandria. 
There he was informed that Melite, a rich Ephesian widow, 
at that time residing in Alexandria, had fallen in love 
with him. This intelligence he received from his old friend 
Clinias [v. 11], who, after the wreck of the vessel in which 
he had embarked with Clitophon, had got on shore by the 
usual expedient of a j^lank, and now suggested to his 
friend that he should avail himself of the predilection of 
Melite [v. 12]. In compliance with this suggestion, he 
set sail with her for Ephesus, but persisted in postponing 
the nuptials till they should reach that place, spite of the 
most vehement importunities on the part of the widow. 
On their arrival at Ephesus the marriage took j^lace, but 
before Melite' s object in the marriage had been accom- 
plished, Clitophon discovered Leucippe among his wife's 
slaves ; and Thersander, Melite' s husband, who was sup- 
loosed to be drowned, arrived at Ephesus. Clitiphon was 
instantly confined by the enraged husband [v. 23] ; but, 
on condition of putting the last seal to the now invalid 
marriage, he escaped by the intervention of Melite. He had 
not proceeded far when he was overtaken by Thersander, 
and brought back to confinement. Thersander, of course, 
fell in love with Leucippe, but not being able to engage 
her affections, he brought two actions ; one declaratory, that 
Leucippe was his slave, and a prosecution against CHto- 

^ During this state of mental alienation she commits many acts of 
extravagance. She boxes her lover on the ear, repulses Menelaus witli 
her feet, and at last quarrels with her petticoats ; // ci irpoat7ra\aiei> 
ilfxlv sdiv (ppoi'Tii^tiaa KpvTTTHV ona -yvvt) fit) upcifr&ai ■S'iXei. 1. 4. c. 9. 


phon for niarrying his wife [vi. 5]. The debates [vii. 7- 
12, viii. 8-16] on both sides are insufferably tiresome. The 
priest of Diana, with whom Leucippe had taken refuge, 
lavishes much abuse on Thersander, which is returned on 
his part with equal volubility. Leucippe is at last sub- 
jected to a trial of chastity in the cave of Diana, from 
which the sweetest music issued when entered by those 
who resembled its goddess. Never were notes heard so 
melodious as those by which Leucippe was vindicated. 
Thersander was of course nonsuited, and retired loaded 
with infamy [viii. 14]. Leucippe then related that it was 
a woman dressed in her clothes, whose head had been 
struck off by the banditti, in order to deter Clitophon 
from farther pursuit, but that a quarrel having arisen 
among them on her account, Chaereas was slain, and after 
his death she was sold by the other pirates to Sosthenes. 
By him she had been purchased for Thersander, in whose 
service she remained till discovered bv Clitophon [viii. 
16]. ' 

In this romance many of the descriptions are borrowed 
from Philostratus, and the Hero and Leander of Musseus. 
Some of the events have also been taken from Heliodorus.^ 
Like that author, Tatius makes frequent use of robbers, 
pirates, and dreams ; but the general style of his work is 
totally different. If there be less sweetness and interest 
than in Theagenes and Chariclea, there is more bustle in 
the action. A number of the amorous stratagems, too, 
are original and well imagined — such as Clitophon' s dis- 
course on love with Satyrus, in the hearing of Leucippe 
[i. 16-20] ; and the beautiful incident of the bee [ii. 7], 
which has been adopted by D'Urfe, and by Tasso in his 
Aminta, where Sylvia having pretended to cure Phyllis, 
whom a bee had stung, by kissing her, Aminta perceiving 
this, feigns that he too had been stung, in order that 
Sylvia, pitying his pain, might apj^ly a similar remedy.^ 

1 Also from Plato, Longus, Synesias, Nonnns, and others. See 
Passow in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopaedia, suh voce Achilles Tatius. 

2 "I made pretence, 
As if the bee had bitten my under lip ; 
And fell to lamentations of such sort, 

That the sweet medicine which I dared not ask 


Among tliose devices may Ije mentioned the petition of 
Melite to Leueippe, whom she believes to be a Thessahan, 
to procure her herbs for a potion that may gain her the 
affections of Clitophon. The sacrifice, too, of Leucippe by 
the robbers in the presence of her lover, is happily imagined, 
were not the solution of the enigma so wretched. As the 
work advances, liowever, it must be confessed, that it 
gradually decreases in interest, and that these agreeable 
incidents are more thinly scattered. Towards the conclu- 
sion it becomes insufferably tiresome, and the author 
scruples not to violate all verisimilitude in the events 

Indeed, through the whole romance, want of probability 
seems the great defect. Nothing can be more absurd or 
unnatural than the false uterus — nothing can be worse 
imagined than the vindication of the heroine in the cave of 
Diana, wliich is the final solution of the romance. When 
it is necessary for the story that Thersander should be in- 

With word of mouth, I asked for with my looks. 

The simple Sylvia then, 

Compassioning my pain, 

OflFered to give her help 

To that pretended wound ; 

And oh I the real and the mortal wound, 

Which pierced into my being, 

When her lips came on mine I 

Never did bee from flower 

Suck sugar so divine, 

As was the honey that I gathered then 

From those twin roses fi'esh. 

I could have bathed them in my burning kisses, 

But fear and shame withheld 

That too audacious fire, 

And made them gently hang. 

But while into my bosom's core, the sweetness, 

Mixed with a secret poison, did go down, 

It pierced me so with pleasure, that still feigning 

The pain of the bee's weapon, I contrived 

That more than once the enchantment was repeated.'' 

Aminta, act i. so. 2, Leigh Hunt's translation. 

Cf. too Sir John Suckling's — 

" Her lips were red and one was thin. 
Compared to that was next her chin, 
Some bee had stung it newly."' 


formed who Leucippe is, tlie autlior makes liim overliear a 
soliloquy, in wliicli she re^^orts to herself a full account of 
her genealogy, and an abridgement of her whole adven- 
tures. A soliloquy can never be properly introduced, 
unless the speaker is under the influence of some strong 
passion, or reasons on some important subject ; but as 
Heliodorus borrowed from Soj)hocles, so Tatius is said to 
to have imitated Euripides. From him he may have 
taken this unnatural species of soliloquy, as this impro- 
priety exists in almost all the introductions to the tragedies 
of that poet. 

Tatius has been much blamed for the immorality of his 
romance, and it must be acknowledged that there are 
particular passages which are extremely excei^tionable ; 
yet, however odious some of these may be considered, the 
general moral tendency of the story is good ; — a remark 
which may be extended to all the G-reek romances. Tatius 
punishes his hero and heroine for eloj)ing from their 
father's house, and afterwards rewards them for their 
long fidelity.^ 

^ Though in the Greek romances the surface may be often impure, 
remarks M. Chassang (Hist, du Rom. p. 424), the substance is nearly 
always moral. The imaginations of the writers are indeed generally 
libertine, their pictures sensual, and their language broad. But we 
know enough of antiquity to allow for an outrightness in expression, 
which modern diction does not emulate, and to recognize happily many 
differences between Greek and modern French mannei's. Again, in 
these compositions the authors do not dilate much on duty and virtue, 
nor fill pages with elaborate sentimental disquisition; the senses are 
given a prominence which shocks our modern delicacy ; but in the long 
run their heroes will compare well with too many others, in the struggle 
to subdue their passions, in their vigilance against surprises by the 
senses, and in their triumph over abundant seductions. If the}'^ give way 
to amorous delights, it is from impulse, from weakness, never on system ; 
they break through the maxims of conduct, they do not seek rebellious 
abolishment of them. They contain no such types as Lovelace or Saint 
Preux. The literary art was not yet far enough advanced to substitute 
the display of fine sentiments for the fulfilment of duty ; and while the 
heroes of modern novels, elevating love into a virtue, often do not recoil 
from adultery, those of Greek romances always remain virgin and pure 
amidst a host of perils, and despite the obstacles which oppose their 
union. One cannot but acknowledge, however, that the continence of 
the heroes of the Greek romancists strikes a singular contrast with 
their voluptuous proclivities. HoweA'er moral their example, its effect 
is destroyed by the nudity, so to speak, of particular situations. It is 


The Clitoplion and Leueippo of Tatiiis does not seem to 
have Leeu eoinj^osed like Theagenes aud Charidea, as a 
romaDce equally interesting aud well written throughout, 
but as a species of patchwork, in different places of which 
the author might exhibit the variety of his talents. At 
one time he is anxious to show his taste in painting and 
sculpture ; at another his acquaintance with natural his- 
tory ; and towards the end of the book his skill in decla- 
mation. But his principal excellence lies in descriptions ; 
and though these are too luxuriant, they are in general 
beautiful, the objects being at once well selected, and so 
painted as to form in the mind of the reader a distinct and 
lively image. As examples of his merit in this way may 
be instanced, his descrijjtiou of a garden [i. 16], and of 
a tempest followed by a shij^wreck [iii. 234]. We may 
also mention his accounts of the pictures of Euroj^a [i. 1], 
of Andromeda [iii. 7], and Prometheus [iii. 8], in which 
his descriptions and criticisms are executed with very con- 
siderable taste and feeling. Indeed, the remarks on these 
])aintings form a presumption of the advanced state of the 
art at the period in which Tatius wrote, or at least of the 
estimation in which it was held, and afford matter of much 
curious speculation to connoisseurs and artists. 

Writers, however, are apt to indulge themselves in en- 
larging where they excel ; accordingly the descriptions of 
Tatius are too nimierous, and sometimes very absurdly 
introduced. Thus Clitophon, when mentioning the pre- 
parations for his marriage with a woman he disliked, pre- 
sents the reader with a long description of a necklace 
which was purchased for. her, and also enters into a detail 
concerning the origin of dyeing purple [ii. 11] ; he likewise 
introduces very awkwardly an account of various zoological 
curiosities [ii. 14]. Indeed, he seems particularly fond of 
natural history, and gives very animated and correct de- 
lineations of the hippopotamus [iv. 2, cSjc], of the elephant 
[iv. 4], and the crocodile [iv. 19]. 

The description of the rise and progress of the passion 

not, then, in the Greek romances that moral lessons are to be sought, 
they may rather supply information respecting the j)rivate lite of the 
ancients, though their trustworthiness in this regard is by no means 
unchallenged. (See note, p. 62, 3.) 


of Clitophon for Leucippe is extremely well-executed. Of 
this there is nothing in the romance of Heliodorus. Thea- 
genes and Chariclea at first sight are violently and mutually 
enamoured ; in Tatius we have more of the restless agita- 
tion of love and the arts of courtship. Indeed, this is 
by much the best part of the Clitophon and Leucippe, as 
the author discloses very considerable acquaintance with 
the human heart. This knowledge also appears in the 
sentiments scattered through the work, though it must be 
confessed that in many of his remarks he is apt to subtilize 
and refine too much. 

In point of style, Tatius is said by Huet and other 
critics ^ to excel Heliodorus, and all the writers of Greek 
romance. His language has been chiefly aj^plauded for its 
conciseness, ease, and simplicity. Photius, who wrote 
tolerable Greek himself, and must have been a better 
judge than any later critic, observes, " with regard to dic- 
tion and composition, Tatius seems to me to excel. When 
he employs figurative language, it is clear and natural : 
his sentences are precise and limpid, and such as by their 
sweetness greatly delight the ear." " 

In the delineation of character Tatius is still more defec- 
tive than Heliodorus. — Clitophon, the principal person in 
the romance, is a wretchedly weak and ^pusillanimous 
being ; he twice allows himself to be beaten by Thersander, 
without resistance — he has neither sense nor courage, nor 
indeed any virtue except uncommon fidelity to his mistress. 
She is a much more interesting, and is indeed a heroic 

We now proceed to the analysis of a romance different 
in its nature from the works already mentioned ; and of a 
species which may be distinguished by the appellation of 
Pastoral romance. 

It may be conjectured with much probability, that pas- 
toral composition sometimes expressed the devotion, and 
sometimes formed the entertainment, of the first generations 
of mankind. The sacred writings sufficiently inform us that 

^ Huet. p. 40, Boder. prsef. p. 15. 
2 Photius, Bib. Cod. Ixxxvii. p. 206. 

^ Durier (1605-1658) wrote a tale in imitation of Achilles Tatius, 
entitled : " Les Amours de Leucippe et de Clitophon en deux jom-nees.'' 


it existed ainony- the eastern nations durinLT the earliest 
ages. Knral images are everywhere seattered through the 
Old Testament ; and the Song of Solomon in particular 
beautifully delineates the charms of a country life, while it 
paints the most amiable affections of the mind, and the 
sweetest scenery of nature. A number of passages of 
Theocritus bear a striking resemblance to descriptions in 
the inspired pastoral ; and many critics have believed that 
he had studied its beauties, and transferred them to his 
eclogues. Theocritus was imitated in his ovm dialect by 
Moschus and Bion ; and Virgil, taking advantage of a 
different language, copied yet rivalled the Sicilian. The 
Bucolics of the Roman bard seem to have been considered 
as precluding all attempts of the same kind ; for, if we 
except the feeble efforts of Calpurnius, and his contem- 
porary Nemesianus, who lived in the third century, no 
subsequent specimen of pastoral poetry was, as far as I 
know, i:)roduced till the revival of literature. 

It was during this interval that luongus, a G-reek sophist, 
who is said to have lived soon after the age of Tatius, 
Avrote his pastoral romance of 

Daphnis and Chloe, 

which is the earliest, and by far the finest example that 
has appeared of this species of composition.^ Availing 

^ Rohde (Gr. Kom. p. 503) thinks that Tatius lived later than the author 
of Daphnis and Chloe, and indeed imitated him in some respects {e.g.^ 
the sumptuous description of a garden, of a town, and the episode of 
Pan and the flute. It is extremely doubtful whether Longus was ever 
the name of any Greek authoi*. Scholl (Hist, de la Litt. Gr. vi. p. 238) 
supposes the alleged name of the author to be simply a false reading of 
the last word of the title as fuund in the Florentine ]MS. : Af(T/3£afcwi' 
iooj-iKojv Xoyoi c', and this suggestion is adopted by Jacobs in his 
German version, 1832, and b}' Seller in his edition of Longi Pastoralia, 
Lipsia?, 1835. The last-named editor says (Prsef. p. iii.) that the best 
MS. begins and ends with \6yov -ot/tfj'/icwj', instead of Adyyov, and that 
Stephens cites two copies, in one of which the heading began Xoyov, and 
in the other Auyyov. If the author was really Longus, he was probabl}' 
a frcedman of one of the many Roman families who bore this cognomen. 
Be this as it may, we know nothing of the author's life or date, which Kohde 
(Gr. I\om. p. 502) gives reasons for placing at the close of the second 
century. Photius says nothing of him in his Myriabiblia, nor is he 
mentioned by any of the authors with whom he is supposed to have 


himself of the beauties of the pastoral poets who preceded 
him, he has added to their simj^licity of style, and charm- 
ing pictures of Nature, a story which possesses consider- 
able interest, and of which the following abstract is pre- 
sented to the reader. 

In the neighbourhood of Mytilene, the principal city of 
Lesbos, Lamon, a goatherd, as he was one day tending his 
flock, discovered an infant sucking one of his goats with 
surprising dexterity. He takes home the child, and j^i'e- 
sents him to his wife Myrtale ; at the same time he delivers 
to her a purple mantle with which the boy was adorned, 
and a little sword with an ivory hilt, which was lying by 
his side. Lamon having no children of his own, resolves 
to bring up the foundling, and bestows on him the pastoral 
name of Daphnis [Bk. I. c. 3J.^ 

About two years after this occurrence, Dryas, a neigh- 
bouring shepherd, finds in the cave of the nymphs, which 
is beautifully described in the romance, a female infant, 
nursed by one of his ewes. The child is brought to the 
cottage of Dryas, receives the name of Chloe, and is che- 
rished by the old man as if she had been his daughter 
[i. 6]. 

When Daphnis had reached the age of fifteen, and Chloe 
that of thirteen, Lamon and Dryas, their reputed fathers, 
had corresponding dreams on the same night. The nymphs 
of the cave in which Chloe had been discovered aj^pear to 
each of the old shepherds, delivering Daphnis and Chloe to 
a winged boy, with a bow and arrows, who commands that 
Daphnis should be sent to keep goats, and the girl to tend 

been contemporary. His book itself shows that he was a clever and 
well-i*ead sophist of the school of Lucian and the Philostrati ; and the 
style and tone of the novel, no less than its proper title AtcTiSiciKa, or 
' Lesbian Adventures,' place it in the same class with the -^thiopica of 
Heliodorus. Mueller, Hist. Lit. Gr. p. iii. p. 357. See further an ex- 
cellent article, which is from the pen of Professor Maiden, in Knight's 
Quarterly Magazine, vol. i. pp. 277-295, on this romance. For the 
bibliograph}' of the Lesbiaca, see Scholl, Hist. Gr. Lit. iii. p. 161, but 
and especially the Xotice bibliographique par A. J. Pons appended to 
the French translation published by Quantin, of Paris, in 1878. 

^ In the indication of the chapters it has been thought best to follow 
M. Zevort's French translation (Komans Grecs, precede d'une intro- 
duction sur le Roman chez les Grecs, Paris, 1856). 


the sliot'p: Dapliiiis and Chloe have not loii<,' entered on 
their new employments, whieh they exereise with a eare of 
their tloeks, inereased by a knowledge of the circumstances 
of their infancy, when chance brings them to pasture on 
the same spot [i. 8]. It was then, says the romance, the 
beginning of spring, and every species of flower bloomed 
through the woods, the meadows and mountains. — The 
tender flocks sported around — the lambs skipped on the 
hills — the bees hummed through the valleys — and the birds 
tilled the groves with their song. Daphnis collects the 
wandering slieej^ of Chloe, and Cliloe drives from the rocks 
the goats of Daphnis. They make reeds in common, and 
share together their milk and their wine ; — their youth, 
their beauty, the season of the year, every thing tends to 
inspire them with a mutual passion : which is further 
strengthened in Chloe' s breast by the sight of Dajihnis 
l)atliing in the stream. Chloe had, however, another ad- 
mirer, Dorco, a cow-herd, who had rescued Da2:)linis from a 
pit into which he had tumbled. Between him and DajDhnis 
a discussion arose as to which of them was the handsomer. 
When both of them had spoken, Chloe, who was umpire, 
decided in favour of Daphnis, and bestowed upon liim the 
award for victory, a kiss [i. 16].^ 

Chloe' s other admirer, Dorco, the cow-herd, having in 
vain requested her in marriage from Dryas, her reputed 
father, resolves to carry her oif by force ; for this purpose 
he disguises himself as a wolf, and lurks among some 
bushes near a place where Chloe used to pasture her sheep. 
In this garb he is discovered and attacked by the dogs, 
who entered into his frolic with unexpected alacrity, but is 
preserved from being torn to pieces by the timely arrival 
of Daphnis. From the example of Dorco this became a 
favourite stratagem among pastoral characters. In the 
Pastor Fido (act iv. sc. ii.), Dorinda disguises herself as a 

^ These two episodes (Bk. i. 13-17) form the fragment which was 
omitted in all editions published before 1810. It was found by P. L. 
Courier in 1807 in a Manuscript in the Laurentian Library in Florence, 
and has been reintegrated with the work in subsequent issues. In the 
English translation of J. Craggs (1719, 172), Mr. H. .Tenner tells me, 
'' a passage was ingeniously invented to supply the deficiency, which 
is however far more precipitate in its action than the real words of 


wolf, and the troubador Vidal was hunted down in conse- 
quence of a similar experiment/ 

Sj^ring was now at an end — summer beamed forth and 
all Nature flourished — the trees were loaded with fruits, 
the fields were covered with corn, and the woods were filled 
with melody — every thing tended to inspire pleasure — the 
sweet hum of the cicada, the fragrance of the ripening 
apples, and the bleating of the sheep. The gliding streams 
were heard as if they modulated the song, and the breezes 
rustling among the pines seemed the breath of the flute. 

In the beginning of autumn some Tyrian ^^irates having 
landed on the island [i. 28], seize the oxen of Dorco, and 
carry off Daphnis, whom they meet saiuitering on the shore. 
Chloe hearing Daphnis calling for assistance from the ship, 
flies for help to Dorco, and reaches him when he is just ex- 
j^iring of the wounds inflicted by the corsairs of Tyre. Be- 
fore his death he gives her his pipe, on which, after she had 
closed his eyes, she plays according to his instructions a 
certain tune (probably the Eanz des Yaches), which being 
heard by the oxen in the Tyrian vessel, they all leap over- 
board and overset the ship. The pirates being loaded with 
heavy armour are drowned, but Daphnis swims safe to 

Here ends the first book ; and in the second the author 
proceeds to relate, that during autumn Daj^hnis and Chloe 
were engaged in the labours, or rather the delights, of the 
vintage." After the grapes had been gathered and pressed, 
and the new wine treasured in casks, having returned to 
feed their flocks, they are accosted one day by an old man 
named Philetus, who tells them a long story of seeing Cupid 
in a garden, adding, that Daphnis and Chloe were to be 

^ See Diez, Leben und Werke der Troubadours, p. 169. 

- A great deal is said in this romance concerning the vintage. Lesbos 
had in all times been celebrated for its wine, which was scarcely of an 
intoxicating quality. 

" Hie innocentis pocula Lesbii 

Duces sub umbra : nee Semeleius 

Cum Marte confundet Thyoneus 

Prselia." Hor. Carm. i. 17. 

For the qualities of Lesbian wine, see Athenreus, lib. i. c. 22. and Aul. 
Gellius. xiii. c. 5. 


dedicated to his service ; the lovers naturally enquire who 
Cupid is, for, although they had felt his influence, they 
were ignorant of his name. Philetas describes his power 
and his attributes, and points out the remedy for the pains 
he inflicts.^ 

The instructions of this venerable old man to the lovers 
were sufficiently explicit, but, spite of the lesson they had 
received, they appear to have made very little advancement. 
Their progress was on one occasion interrupted by the ar- 
rival of certain youths of Methymnaea, who landed near that 
part of the island where Daphnis fed his flocks, in order to 
enjoy the pleasures of the chase during vintage [ii. 12]. 
The twigs by which the ship of these sportsmen was tied 
to the shore had been eaten through by some goats, and 
the vessel had been carried away by the tide and the land 
breeze. Its crew having proceeded up the country in search 
of the owner of the animals, and not having found him, 
seize Daphnis as a substitute, and lash him severely, till 
other shepherds come to his assistance. Philetas is ap- 
pointed judge between Daphnis and the Metlmunseans, but 
the latter refusing to abide by his decision, which was un- 
favourable to them, are driven from the territory. They 
return, however, next day, and carry off Chloe, with a great 
quantity of booty. Having landed at a place of shelter 
which lay in the course of their voyage, they j^ass the night 
in festivity, but at dawn of day they are terrified by the 
unlooked-for appearance of Pan, who threatens them with 
being drowned before they arrive at their intended place of 
destination, unless they set Chloe at liberty [ii. 27, 28]. 
Through this respectable interposition, Chloe is allowed to 
return home, and is speedily restored to the arms of 
Daphnis. — The grateful lovers sing hymns to the nymphs. 
On the following day they sacrifice to Pan, and hang a goat's 
skin on a pine adjoining his image. The feast which fol- 
lows this ceremony is attended by all the old shepherds in 
the neighbourhood, who recount the adventures of their 
youth, and their children dance to the sound of the pipe. 

The third book commences with the approach of winter, 
and from the description of that season which is given in 

^ «l>('X;;/ia, Trepi^oXi), Kat crvi'KaTaKXiOi'jvat yi'/M-oTr criofinrri. 
I. E 


the romance, it would appear that at the period of its com- 
position the temperature of the Lesbian climate was colder 
than it is now represented by travellers. We are told in the 
pastoral, that early in winter a sudden fall of snow shuts 
up all the roads, the peasants are confined to their cottages, 
and the earth nowhere appears except on the brinks of 
rivers, or sides of fountains. No one leads forth his flocks 
to pasture ; but by a blazing fire some twist cords for the 
net, some plait goat's hair, and others make snares for the 
birds ; the hogs are fed with acorns in the sty, the sheep 
with leaves in the folds, and the oxen with chaff in the 

The season of the year precludes the interviews of 
Daphnis and Chloe. They could no longer meet in the 
fields, and Daphnis was afraid to excite suspicion by visit- 
ing the object of his passion at the cottage of Dryas. He 
ventures, however, to approach its vicinity, under pretext 
of laying snares for birds [iii. 6].^ Engaged in this em- 
ployment, he waits a long time without any person appear- 
ing from the house. At length, when about to ctepart, 
Dryas himself comes out in pursuit of a dog who had run 
off with the family dinner [iii. 7]. He perceives Daphnis 
with his game, and accordingly, as a profitable speculation, 
invites him into the cottage. The birds he had caught are 
prepared for suj^per, a second cup is filled, a new fire is 
kindled, and Daphnis is asked to remain next day to attend 
a sacrifice to be performed to Bacchus. By accepting the 
invitation, he for some time longer enjoys the society of 
Chloe. The lovers part, praying for the revival of spring ; 
but while the winter lasted, Daphnis frequently visits the 
habitation of Dryas. 

When spring returns, Daphnis and Chloe are the first to 
lead out their flocks to pasture. Their ardour when they 
meet in the fields is increased by long absence, and the 
season of the year, but their hearts remain innocent ; — a 
purity which the author still imputes not to virtue, but to 

Chromis, an old man in the neighbourhood, had married 
a young woman called Lycaenium, who falls in love with 

^ The bird-catching episode occurs also in the Letters of Alciphron 
(iii. 30), who was a contemporary of Lucian. See Kohde, p. 502. 


Daphnis ; she becomes acquainted with tlie j^erplexity in 
which he is phiced with res^^ard to Chkx\ and resolves at 
once to gratify her own passion, and to free him from his 

Daj^hnis, liowever, still hesitates to practise with Chloe 
the lesson he had received from Lycaenium ; and the reader 
is again tired with the repetition of preludes, for which he 
can no longer find an excuse. 

In the fourth book we are told that, towards the close of 
summer, a fellow-servant of Lamon arrives from Mytilene, 
to annoimce that the lord of the territory on which the re- 
puted fathers of Daphnis and Chloe pastured their flocks, 
would be with them at the approach of vintage. 

Lamon prepares ever}i:hing for his reception with much 
assiduity, but bestows particular attention on the embel- 
lishment of a spacious garden which adjoined his cottage 
[iv. 2], and of which the different jmrts are described as 
having been arranged in a manner fitted to inspire all the 
agreeable emotions which the art of gardening can produce. 
" It was," says the author, "the length of a stadium, and 
the breadth of four plethra, was in a lofty situation, and 
formed an oblong. It was planted with all sorts of trees ; 
with apples, myrtles, j^ears, pomegranates, figs, olives, and 
the tall vine, which, reclining on the pear and apple trees, 
seemed to vie with them in its fruits. Nor were the forest 
trees, as the plane, the pine, and the cypress, less abun- 
dant. To them clung not the vine, but the ivy, whose large 
and ripening berry emulated the grajDe. These forest trees 
surrounded the fruit-bearers, as if they had been a shelter 
fonned by art ; and the whole was j^rotected by a slight 
inclosure. The garden was divided by i^aths — the stems 
of the trees were far separated from each other, but the 
branches entwined above, formed a continued arbour: here 
too were beds of flowers, some of which the earth bore 
spontaneously, while others were jjroduced by cultiva- 
tion ; — roses, hyacinths, were planted and tended ; the 
ground of itself yielded the -vdolet and the narcissus. Here 
were shade in summer, sweetness of flowers in spring, the 
pleasures of vintage in autumn, and fruits in every season 
of the year. Hence too the plain could be seen, and flocks 
feeding ; the sea also, and the ships sailing over it ; so that 


all these might be numbered among the delights of the 
garden. In the centre there was a temple to Bacchus, and 
an altar erected ; the altar was girt with ivy — the temple 
was surrounded with palm : within were represented the 
trium^jhs and loves of the god." 

On this garden Daphnis had placed his chief hopes of 
conciliating the good-will of his master, and through his 
favour of being united to Chloe ; for it would appear the 
consent of parties was not sufficient for this, and that in 
Greece, as among the serfs in Russia, the finest gratifica- 
tion of the heart was dependent on the will of a master. 
LamjDis, a cowherd, who had asked Chloe in marriage from 
Dryas, and had been refused, resolves on the destruction 
of this garden. Accordingly, when it is dark, he tears out 
the shrubs by the roots, and tramples on the flowers. 
Dreadful is the consternation of Lamon, in beholding on 
the following morning the havoc that had been made 
[iv. 7]. Towards evening his terror is increased by the 
appearance of Eudromus, one of his master's servants, 
who gives notice that he would be with them in three 

Astylus (the son of Dionysoj^hanes, proj^rietor of the 
territory) arrives first, and promises to obtain pardon from 
his father of the mischance that had happened to the 
garden. Astylus is accompanied by a parasite, Gnatho, 
who is smitten with a friendship, a la Grecque, for Daphnis : 
this having come to the knowledge of Lamon, who over- 
hears the parasite ask and obtain Daphnis as a page from 
Astvlus, he conceives it incumbent on him to reveal to 
Dionysophanes, who had by this time arrived, the mysteries 
attending the infancy of Daphnis. He at the same time 
produces the ornaments he had found with the child, on 
which Dionysophanes instantly recognizes his son. Having 
married early in youth, he had a daughter and two sons, 
but being a prudent man, and satisfied with this stock, he 
had exposed his fourth child, Daphnis ; a measure which ' 
had become somewhat less expedient, as his daughter and 
one of his sons died immediately after on the same day, and 
Astylus alone survived. 

The change in the situation of Daphnis does not alter his 
attachment to Chloe. He begs her in marriage of his 


father, who, beintc informed of the circumstances of her 
infancy, invites all the distinfT^uished persons in the neigh- 
bourhood to a festival, at which the articles of dress found 
along- with Chloe are exhibited. This was not his own 
scheme, but had been suggested to him in a dream by the 
nymphs ; for in the pastoral of Longus, as in most other 
Greek romances, the characters are only 

Tunc recta scientes cum nil scii*e valent. 

The success of this device fully answers expectation ; Chloe 
being acknowledged as his daughter by Magacles, one of 
the guests, who was now in a prosperous condition, but 
rivalling his friend Dionysophanes in paternal tenderness, 
had exposed his child while in difficulties. There being 
now no farther obstacle to the union of Daphnis and Chloe, 
their marriage is solemnized with rustic pomp, and they 
lead through the rest of their days a happy and a pastoral 

In some respects a prose romance is better adapted than 
the eclogue or drama to pastoral composition. The eclogue 
is confined within narrow limits, and must terminate before 
interest can be excited. A series of Bucolics, where two or 
more shepherds are introduced contending for the reward of 
a crook or a kid, and at most descanting for a short while 
on similar topics, resembles a collection of the first scenes 
of a number of comedies, of which the commencement can 
only be listened to as unfolding the subsequent action. 
The drama is, no doubt, a better form of pastoral writing 
than detached eclogues, but at the same time does not well 
accord with rustic manners and description. In dramatic 
composition, the representation of strong passions is best 
calculated to produce interest or emotion, but the feelings 
of rural existence should be painted as tranquil and calm. 
In choosing a prose romance as the vehicle of jiastoral 
writing, Longus has adopted a form that may include all 
the beauties arising from the description of rustic manners, 
or the scenery of nature, and which, as far as the incidents 
of rural life admit, may interest by an an agreeable fable, 
and dehght by a judicious alternation of narrative and 

Longus has also avoided many of the faults into which 


his modem imitators have fallen, and wliicli have brought 
this style of composition into so mnch disrepute; his 
characters never express the conceits of affected gallan- 
try, nor involve themselves in abstract reasoning ; and he 
has not loaded his romance with those long and constantly 
recurring episodes, which in the Diana of Montemayor, and 
the Astrea of D'Urfe, fatigue the attention and render us 
indiiferent to the 23rinci2)al story. Nor does he paint that 
chimerical state of society, termed the golden age, in which 
the characteristic traits of rural life are erased, but at- 
tempts to please by a genuine imitation of Nature, and by 
descriptions of the manners, the rustic occupations, or rural 
enjoyments, of the inhabitants of the country where the 
scene of the pastoral is laid. 

Huet, who seems to have considered the chief merit of a 
romance to consist in commencing in the middle of the 
story, has remarked, I think unjustly, that it is a great de- 
fect in the plan of this pastoral, that it begins with the in- 
fancy of the hero and heroine, and carries on the story 
beyond the period of their marriage.^ The author might, 
perhaps, have been blameable had he dwelt long on these 
periods ; but, in fact, the romance concludes with the nup- 
tials of Daphnis and Chloe ; and the reader is merely told 
in a few lines that they lived a pastoral life, and had a son 
and daughter. Nor, if the reader be interested in the 
characters of the preceding story, is it unpleasant for him 
to hear in general terms, when it comes to an end, how 
these persons passed their lives, and whether their fortune 
was stable. I do not see that in a pastoral romance, even 
a more ample descrij^tion of conjugal felicity would have 
been so totally disgusting as the critic seems to imagine ; 
far less is an account of the childhood of the characters 
objectionable, even where it is more minute than that given 
by Longus. 

^ " L'economie mal entendue de sa fable est un defaut encore phis 
essentiel. II commence grossierement, a la naissance de ses bergers, 
et ne finit pas meme a leur mariage. II etend sa narration jusq' a leurs 
enfants et a leur vieillessc ; " and again, " C'est sortir entierement du 
vrai caractere de cette espece d'ecrits : il les faut finir au jour des 
noces, et se taire sur les suites du mariagt Une heroine de Roman 
grosse et accouchee est un etrange personnage.'" — Huet, de I'Origine des 


The pastoral is in general very beautifully written ; — the 
style, tliou<]^li it lias l)een censured on account of the reite- 
ration of the same forms of expression, and as betrayino; 
the sophist in some passages by a play on words, and 
affected antithesis, is considered as the purest specimen of 
the Greek language produced in that late period ; ^ the de- 
scriptions of rural scenery and rural occupations are ex- 
tremely pleasing, and, if I may use the expression, there is. 
a sort of amenity and calm diffused over the whole romance. 
This, indeed, may be considered as the chief excellence in a 
pastoral ; since we are not so much allured by the feeding 
of sheep as by the stillness of the country. In all our active 
pursuits, the end i^roposed is tranquillity, and even when 
we lose the hope of happiness, we are attracted by that of 
repose ; — hence we are soothed and delighted with its re- 
presentation, and fancy we partake of the pleasure. 

In some respects, however, this romance, although its 
excellencies are many, is extremely defective. It displays 
little variety, except what arises from the vicissitude of the 
seasons. The courtsliip of Daphnis is to the last degree 
monotonous, and the conversations between the lovers ex- 
tremely insipid. The mythological tales also are totally 
uninteresting, and sometimes not very happily introduced." 

Although the general moral attempted to be inculcated 
in the romance is not absolutely bad, yet there are par- 
ticular passages so extremely reprehensible, that I know 
nothing like them in almost any work whatever.'' This de- 

^ *' Son style est simple, aise, nature!, et concls sans obscurlte ; ses ex- 
pressions sont pleine de vivacite et de feu, il produit avec esprit, il peint 
avcc agreraent, et dispose ses images avec adresse." — De I'Orig. des Kom. 

"Longi oratio pura, Candida, suavis, mutis articulis mombrisque con- 
cisa et tamen numerosa, sine ullis salibus melle dulcior proHuit, tanquam 
amnis argenteus virentibus utrinque sylvis inumbratus ; et ita florens, 
its picta, ita expolita est ut in ea, verborum omnes, omnes sententiarum 
illigentur lopores. Translationes caeteraque dicendi lumina ita aptedis- 
ponit ut pictures colorum varietatem." — Villoisnn, Frooem to his ed. 
1778. Longus is also called by Muretus, '• dulcissimus ac suavissimus 
scriptor " (var. lect. 9, 16); and by Scaliger, '' auctor ama?nistimus, et 
eo melior quo simplieior " (Miscell. c. 2). 

- See Koraes, Heliodorus, p. 13. 

^ This seems somewhat exaggerated blame. There are certainly no 
passa^res in this tale to be compared with many in, for instance, the 
Metamorphoses of Apuleius, and in many other works which Dunlop 
must have x-ead before writing this history. — H. Jenner. 


pravity is tlie less excusable, as it was the j^rofessed design 
of the author to paint a state of the most perfect innocence. 

There can be no doubt that the pastoral of Longus had 
a considerable influence on the style and incidents of the 
subsequent Greek romances, particularly those of Eusta- 
thius ^ and Theodorus Prodromus ; " but its effects on 
modern pastorals, particularly those which appeared in 
Italy during the sixteenth century, is a subject of more 
difficulty. Huet is of opinion, that it was not only the 
model of the Astrea of D'Urfe, and the Diana of Monte- 
mayor, but gave rise to the Italian dramatic pastoral. 
This opinion is combated by Villoison, on the grounds that 
the first edition of Longus was not published till 1598,^ 
and that Tasso died in the year 1595. It is true that the 
first Greek edition of Longus was not jDublished till 1598, 
but there was a French translation by Amyot, which ap- 
peared in 1559, and one in Latin verse by G-ambara in 
1569, either of which might have been seen by Tasso. But 
although this argument brought forward by Villoison ^ be 
of little avail, he is probably right in the general notion he 
has adopted, that Daphnis and Chloe was not the origin of 
the pastoral drama. The Sacrificio of Agostino Beccari, 
which was the earliest specimen of this style of composi- 
tion, and was acted at Ferrara in 1554, was written pre- 
vious to the appearance of any edition or version of Longus. 
Nor is there any similarity in the story or incidents of the 
Aminta to those in Daphnis and Chloe, which should lead 
us to imagine that the Greek romance had been imitated 
by Tasso. 

It bears, however, a stronger likeness to the more recent 
dramatic pastorals of Italy. These are frequently founded 
on the exposure of children, who, after being brought up as 
shepherds by reputed fathers, are discovered by their real 
parents by means of tokens fastened to them when they 

1 See pp. 77, etc. 

2 Theodorus Prodromus lived in the first half of the twelfth century, 
and wrote a romance entitled, The Loves of Dorante and Dosicles. 

^ By Colombanus in Florence. The editor states it Avas printed from 
a MS. which he procured from the library of Luigi Alamanni, and 
which was compared by one of the editor's friends, Fulvius Ursinus, 
with a MS. at Rome, and the various readings transmitted to him. 

^ In Introduction to his edition of Longus. Paris, 1778. 


are abandoned. There is also a considerable resemblance 
between the story of Daplinis and Chloe and that of the 
Gentle Shej)herd : the plot was suggested to Ramsay l)y 
one of his friends, who seems to have taken it from the 
Greek pastoral. Marmontel, too, in his Annette and Lubin, 
has imitated the simplicity and inexperience of the lovers 
of Longns.' But of all modem writers the author who has 
most closely followed this romance is Gessner. In his 
Idylls there is the same poetical prose, the same beautiful 
rural descriptions, and the same innocence and simplicity 
in the rustic characters. In his pastoral of Daphnis, the 
scene of which is laid in Greece, he has painted, like 
Longus, the early and innocent attachment of a shepherdess 
and swain, and has only embellished his picture by the in- 
cidents that arise from rural occupations, and the revolu- 
tions of the year. 

AVe shall conclude this article with remarking, that the 
story of Daphnis and Chloe is related in the person of the 
author. He feigns, that while hunting in Lesbos, he saw 
in a grove consecrated to the nymphs a most beautiful 
picture, in which appeared children exposed, lovers plight- 
ing their faith, and incursions of pirates — that, having 
found an interpreter of this painting, he had expressed in 
"writing what it represented, and produced a gift to Cupid, 
to Pan, and the nymphs ; but which would be pleasing to 
all men, a medicine to the sick, a solace to the afflicted, 
which would remind him, who had felt the jDOwer of love, 
of his sweetest enjoyments, and teach the inexperienced the 
nature and hapj^iness of that passion. 

Although the work of Longus was much admired by his 
contemporaries, and although many of the incidents were 
adopted in the fictitious narratives by which it was suc- 
ceeded, none of the subsequent Greek fablers attempted to 
write pastoral romance, but chose Heliodorus, or rather 
Tatius, as their model. 

^ So also has Bernardine de St. Pierre in Paul et Virginia. See 
SchoU's Hist, de la litt. o:recque, iii. 161, and an article upon the 
" collection des romans grecs traduit en trangais ; avee dcs notes, par 
MM. Courier, Larcher, et autres Hellenistes, Paris, 1822," etc. in the 
Foreign Quarterly Keview, vol. v. p. 135. Perhaps, too, there is 
sufficient resemblance to warrant the mention in the same connection 
of Goethe's " Hermann and Dorothea " and Longfellow's " Evangeline." 


Chariton, tlie earliest of these imitators, has been con- 
sidered as inferior to Tatius in point of style, in which he 
exhibits a good deal of the sophist, but he far excels him 
in the probability and simplicity of his incidents — he also 
surpasses him in the general conduct of his work, since, as 
the romance advances, the interest increases to the end, and 
the fate of the characters is carefully concealed till the 
conclusion. Nor is it loaded with those episodes and 
lengthened descriptions which encumber the Clitophon and 
Leucippe of Tatius. The author is also more careful than 
his predecessor not to violate probability, and seems anxious 
to preserve an appearance of historical fidelity. 

A considerable part of the commencement of the 

Chaereas and Callieehoe ^ 

of Chariton has been lost, and the first incident we now 
meet with is the marriage of the hero and heroine. The 
other suitors of Callirrhoe, enraged at the preference given 
to Chaereas, contrive to make him jealous of his wife. In 
a transport of passion he kicks her so violently that she 
swoons, and is believed dead [i. 5]. This incident is one 
of the worst imagined, to be met with in any of the Greek 
romances. It leaves such an impression of the brutality of 
the principal character, that we are not reconciled to him 
by all his subsequent grief and diligent search after Callir- 

^ XapiTiovoQ ' k(ppodiadi>)Q tu)V Trepi Xaipsav Kai Ka\\ippot]v Ipwriicu)}' 
dfnyrjfxdTiov Xoyoi i). Chariton Aphrodisiensis is as little known as the other 
writers of Greek romance. Indeed, it has been suspected by some, that 
his graceful name is entirely fictitious ; by others it has been conjectm-ed 
that he was born at Aphrodisia, a city in Caria, and it is supposed, from 
the imperfection of his style, that the author, whoever he was, existed 
posterior to the age of Heliodorus or Tatius. His romance was published 
at Amsterdam, 1750, by D'Orville, from a copy, taken by his friend 
Antonio Cocchi, of a MS. found in a monastery at Florence. The Latin 
translation by Eeiskius is executed with uncommon spirit and fidelity. 
The romance itself consists of 144 pages, and the notes added by 
d'Orville occupy 788. " Charitonis contextum," says he, "^x««m ubi 
opus videbatur illustrandum duxi." The trouble the commentator has 
taken is the more extraordinary, as he seems to have entertained but an 
indifferent opinion of the merit of the romance, " et vere dicere licet, 
Charitonem potius insignibus vitiis carere, quam magnis virtutibus esse 
commendabilem. In 1753, there appeared an Italian translation, through 
the medium of which the English one (Lond. 1764) has been executed. 


rlioe ; — our disgust might perhaps have been lessened, had 
tlie author made him employ a dagger or poison. 

After her supposed death, Callirrhoe is buried along 
with a great quantity of treasure. It was customary in 
Greece that effects of a value proportioned to the rank of 
the deceased should be deposited in tombs. It is men- 
tioned in Strabo, [1. 8, c. 6], that the persons who were 
sent by Caesar to colonize Corinth, left no tomb unexplored ; 
ovceva Ta(j)ov aaKivu)m]Tov ; — an anecdote which evinces the 
existence of that species of depredation which forms a lead- 
ing incident in this and so many of the other Greek 
romances.^ Callirrhoe revives soon after her interment, 
and at tliis critical moment, Theron, a pirate, who had 
witnessed the concealment of the treasure [i. 7], breaks 
open the sepulchre, which was placed near the shore, and 
sets sail with the booty and Callirrhoe [i. 11]. At Miletus 
he sells her to Dionysius, an Ionian prince, who soon be- 
comes enamoured of his slave [ii. 3] . Chariton is the first 
writer of romance who has introduced an interesting male 
character. Dionysius is represented geaerous, learned, 
valiant, and tender ; — nor was there any thing improper in 
his attachment to Calhrrhoe, as she disclosed the nobleness 
of her birth, but concealed that she was the wife of an- 
other ; — he makes love to her with all possible delicacy, and 
imposes no restraint on her inclinations. Callirrhoe, hav- 
ing already one husband, feels some scruples at accepting a 
second ; but at length agrees to espouse Dionysius, with 
the view of giving a nominal father to the child of which 
she was pregnant [ii. 11]. 

The following portion of the romance is occupied with 
the attempts of Mithridates, satraj) of Caria, to obtain pos- 
session of Callirrhoe [iv. 3], for whom he had conceived a 
violent affection — the search made by Chaereas for his wife 
after discovering that she was innocent, and yet alive [iii. 
4] — and his arrival in Asia to reclaim her from Dionvsius 
[iv. 4]. 

^ See in this connei-tion the seventy-six epigrams of St. Gregory 
Nazianzen against the despoilers of the dead. (Anth. Gr. viii. 179-254.) 
— Lieb. This episode of the plundering of the tomb has been bor- 
rowed (according to Kohde) by Chariton. (See his Romance, next de- 


At length all parties are summoned to Babylon, to main- 
tain their canse before Artaxerxes. Mithridates and Chae- 
reas appear first, and afterwards Dionysius arrives, accom- 
panied by Callirrhoe [v. 3]. There is no part of the 
romance so unnatural as the account of the extraordinary 
effects produced by the beauty of Callirrhoe on the be- 
holders at Babylon, and the regions through which she 
passed on her journey ; but after her arrival, the flattery 
which we may suppose paid to a despot in an eastern court, 
by satraps and eunuchs, is finely touched [vi. 3] ; and the 
meeting of Chaereas with Callirrhoe in the palace, while 
the cause is under cognizance, is happily imagined. Ar- 
taxerxes, as was to be expected, having become enamoured 
of the object of dispute, defers giving any decision, in order 
to protract her stay in Babylon [vi. 2] . Accounts, mean- 
while, arrive of a revolt of the EgyjDtians, and their inva- 
sion of Syria. The king, accompanied by Dionysius, pro- 
ceeds against them, and, according to the custom of the 
Persian monarchs, takes the ladies of the court, among 
whom Callirrhoe was now numbered, along with him [vi. 
9] . But, as they are found to be cumbersome on the march, 
they are left at Ardo, an island at a short distance from the 
continent [vii. 4]. Chaereas, exasperated by a false report 
that the king had bestowed Callirrhoe on Dionysius [vii. 1], 
joins the Egyptian forces, takes Tyre by stratagem [vii. 4f\, 
and, in consideration of his talents as a general, is appointed 
to command the fleet [vii. 5] . Having destroyed the Per- 
sian navy soon after his elevation, in a great battle which 
was fought near Arado, he takes possession of the island, 
and recovers Callirrhoe [viii. 1]. In the course of the 
night succeeding the day which had been so jjropitious to 
the love and glory of Chaereas, a messenger arrives at 
Arado with accounts of the total overthrow of the Egyptian 
army, which had been chiefly effected by the skill and 
valour of Dionysius [vii. 5]. To him Callirrhoe writes a 
very handsome letter, and returns vdth Chaereas to Syra- 
cuse [viii. 6]. 

About the time of Chariton, there lived three persons of 
the name of Xenophon,^ each of whom wrote a romance. 

• Peerlkanip (in his edition of Xenophon, the Ephesian, Harlemi, 
1818) is of opinion that this name, as well as those of Achilles, Tatius, 


These authors were distint^uished by the names of Antio- 
chenus, Cyprius, and Ephesius. Antioeheniis, in imitation 
of lamMiehus, called his romance, Babylonica : ' the 
second Xenoj^hon entitled his work, (which relates the 
loves of Cinyras, Myrrha, and Adonis,) Cypriaca. 

The Ephesiaca (which alone is known to us,) consists of 
ten books, and comprehends the loves of 

Habrocomas and Anthia.- 

In this work the incidents are extremely similar to those 
that occur in the preceding romances. The hero and heroine 
become enamoured in the temple of Diana [i. c. 2, 3] ; they 
are married early in the work, but in obedience to an oracle 
of Apollo, are forced by their parents to travel, and in the 
course of their wanderings experience the accustomed ad- 
ventures with robbers and pirates. On one occasion Anthia, 
when separated from her husband by a series of misfor- 
tunes, falls into the hands of banditti [ii. 11], from whom 
she is rescued by a young nobleman, named Perilaus, who 
becomes enamoured of her. Anthia, fearing violence, 
affects a consent to marry him [ii, 13] ; but on the arrival 
of the appointed time swallows a soporific draught ^ which 
she had procured from a physician [iii. 6], who was the 

Longus, and Chariton, were assumed. (Mueller, Hist. Gr. Lit. iii. 
p. 354.) 

' According to Peerlkarap (p. 66), the names /3a;3vXwi'i/ca and KVTrpiaKa 
were given to the romances of the two other Xenophons, from the birth- 
place of the principal characters. The information respecting these 
authors is derived from Suidas. This system of nomenclature is very 
common in Greek romances; cf. ^thiopica of Heliodorus, Lesbioca of 
Longus (Daphnis and Chloe), Babylonica of lamblichus.etc. — II. Jenner. 

^ 'E<ptaiaKd tci Kara 'Ai'Oiai> kui 'AppoKonriv ; or rather Jive books. 
The number given in the text is taken from Huet, in whose time the 
romance was. for the most part, only known from Suidas, who certainly 
gives ten books. Angelo Poliziano, in his Liber. Miscell., ch. Ii., had 
already mentioned the work; and in 1723 an Italian translation ap- 
peared. The Greek was first printed in 1726. (See also Chardon dela 
Rochette. Melanges, etc., p. 7U, and Peerlkamp's edition of Xenophon.) 
Peerlkamp suggests that under ten books Suidas included another work 
by Xenophon. — H. Jennkk. 

^ On Soporifics, see note to Massuccio di Salerno's third novel, in 
vol. ii. 


friend of Perilaus, and to whom slie had hitrusted the 
secret of her story. Much lamentation is made for her 
death, and she is conveyed with great pomp to a sepulchre. 
As she had only drunk a sleeping potion, she soon awakes 
in the tomb, which is plundered by pirates for the sake of 
the treasure it contained [iii. 8].^ 

Mr. Douce, in his Illustrations of Shakspeare, has pointed 
out the resemblance between this adventure and the lead- 
ing incident of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. The 
Ephesiaca, he acknowledges, was not published at the time 
when Luigi da Porto wi'ote the novel, supposed to be 
Shakspeare' s original, but he thinks it very probable he 
had met with the manuscript of the Greek romance.' 

Throughout the work the author of the Ephesiaca seems 
to think it necessary that every woman who sees Habro- 
comas, should fall in love with him, and that all the male 
characters should become enamoured of Anthia. The story 
also is extremely complicated ; and a remark which was- 
formerly made respecting Heliodorus may be applied with, 
double force to Xenophon ; the changes of fortune in his 
romance are too numerous, and too much of the same 
nature. Xenophon, however, has received much commen- 
dation from the critics, for the elegance of his style, which 
is said to bear a strong resemblance to that of Longus, and 
is declared by Politian to be smooth as that of a more re- 
nowned Xenoj^hon. " Sic utique Xenophon scribit, non 
quidem Atheniensis ille, sed alter eo non insuavior Ephe- 
sius."— (Polit. Misc. c. 15.) ' 

1 See Lapaume (Pra?f. ad Erot. de Apoll, Tyr. Fab. p. 603). Other 
incidents recall Heliodorus. Habrocomas is saved from the already 
ignited pyre (iv. 2) in a miraculous way 5 and Chariclea (viii. 9) is 
saved by similar agency (see p. 27) ; cf. Parthenius, 5, Muller Fr. 
Hist. i. p. 41. Cases of Divine interposition in similar situations are re- 
corded in the acts of the Christian martyrs {e.g. Acta Pauli et Theclse, 
c. 22), and reports of these marvels may have been seized by the nove- 
lists as matter for their compositions. (See the Propugnatore, vi.) 

2 Eecent criticism does not coincide in this view. (See inf^ra, Mas- 
succio di Salerno's third novel). 

^ Eohde (p. 401), on the other hand, judges it for the most part curt 
and bald, as if a mere outline or abstract of a narrative had been jotted 
down. Chassang, following Koraes, considers its triviality indicates 
the period of decadence as near the date of the author; while Eohde 
(p. 390-404), from his description of the Temple of Diana of Ephesus, 


After the age iu which Chariton and the Xeiiophous are 
supposed to have lived, more thau three centuries elapsed 
without the production of any fictitious narrative deserving 
attention. The first romance that appeared at the end of 
this louLC interval, was of a totally different nature from 
those which preceded it. The love it breathes is not of an 
earthly, but a heavenly nature ; and its incidents consist 
not in the adventures of heroes, but the sufferings of 

In the times which succeeded the earliest ages of Chris- 
tianity, the spirit of the new religion appears to have been 
but imperfectly luiderstood by many of its most zealous 
ministers ; and it is to the dispassionate investigation of 
modern times, that we are indebted for the restoration of 
its i^rimitive simplicity and piu'ity. 

As the first corruption of the doctrines of Christianity 
was owing to the eastern gnostics, so, with the Therapeidce, 
and other oriental sects, was developed the notion that 
the renimciation of the Creator's bounties in this world 
is the best title to an immeasurable beatitude in the 

With a view of promoting a taste for monastic seclusion, 
St. John of Damascus (a monk of Syria, who lived in the 
eight centiu-y, during the reign of the emperor Leo Isau- 
ricus,) appears to have written his Lives of 

laid waste with the city in a.d. 263, and of which no mention is fonnd 
subsequent to about 235, and from other interna] evidence is inclined to 
place him somewhere about the end of the second century, and between 
lamblichus and Heliodorus, and earlier than Chariton. It may further 
be observed that the toleration of unnatural love in Habrocomas and 
Anthia as in Leucippe and Clitophon, and in Daphnis and Chloe, would 
seem to stamp them as essentially pagan works, and refer them to an 
earlier period than Chaereas and Callirrhoe, Hysmine and Hysminias, 
of Eumathius Macrembolites (published by Hirschig), and the History 
of ApoUonius of Tyre, in which no trace of this vice is found, doubtless 
in deference to the growing influence of Christianity. 

Rohde (p. 398) remarks that Xenophon of Ephesus is the first extant 
romancist who has confined the scene of his nai-rative to Egypt, Asia 
Minor, and a few districts in Italia Inferior and Sicily, and is inclined 
to discern in this restriction to some of the best civilized provinces of the 
Roman Empire, a tendency to eschew the fantastic in favour of the 
civilian romance. 

^ See Migne, Dictionnaire d'Ascetisme, sub voce The'rapeutes. 


Baelaam and Josaphat/ 

He states that the incidents liad been told to him by 
certain pious Ethiopians, by which he means Indians, who 
had found them related by engravings on tablets of un- 
suspected veracity. 

^ 'laTopia -ipvxd^sXijQ k.t.X. Iv y o jiioQ fSapXacifi km Ioj(ra<p, first pub- 
lished in Greek bj Boissonade, Paris, 1829. There are at least two 
Latin editions of the fifteenth century. At Bagdad, at the court of that 
Khalif Almansur, where Abdallah ibn Almokaffa translated the fables 
of Kalila and Dimna from Persian into Arabic, there lived a Christian, 
by name Sergius, who was for many j^ears high treasurer to the Khalif. 
His son, to whom he gave the best education then to be had — his chief 
tutor being Cosmas, an Italian monk, who had been captured and sold 
as a slave by the Saracens — upon the death of Sergius succeeded him 
for some time as the Khalif's chief councillor ; but suddenly, influenced, 
no doubt, by the teachings of Cosmas, he resolved to withdraw from the 
world, and joined the monastery of St. Saba, near Jerusalem, where he 
soon earned a fame for piety and theological learning which has given 
him a place among the saints of both the Eastern and Western Churches. 
He must have known Arabic, and probably Persian ; his mastery of 
Greek won him the epithet of Chryson-hoas, or gold-flowing. He 
became famous as the defender of sacred images, and as the opponent 
of the Emperor Leo the Isaurian, about 726. 

St. John Damascene, whom tradition and probability alike indicate 
(Max Mueller, Chips, iv. p. 176) as the author of Barlaam and Josaphat, 
•evidently took his hero and his story from an Indian source. The early 
life of Josaphat is exactly the same as that of Gautama Sakyamuni, 
best known to us under the name of Buddha. In the Lalita Vistara 
(French trans, by P. E. Foucaux, 1884), the life, though no doubt the 
legendary life of Buddha, Buddha's father is a king, and after the birth of 
a son, an astrologer, the Brahman Asita, predicts an alternative of earthly 
glory or religious sanctity. His father vainly seeks to keep from him the 
cognizance of mundane miseries. He drives out : on one drive he sees 
two men, one maimed, the other blind, and returns home saddened with 
a knowledge of the existence of disease ; on another drive, from sight of a 
decrepit old man, he learns of infirmit}^ and decline ; a third drive gives 
him knowledge of death, as he passes a corpse ; and on a fourth he 
meets an ascetic, Avhose sort of life he decides to adopt, as " it will," he 
says, " lead us to a real life, to happiness and immortality." No wonder 
that the illustrious and cultured St. John Damascene availed himself of 
such a narrative to enfoi'ce that doctrine, in obedience to which he had 
quitted a high station at a pagan court. Fa Hian, three centuries prior 
to the time of Damascenus, saw still standing among the ruins of Kapil- 
avastu the towers which commemorated Gautama Buddha's drives, so 
celebrated in the Buddhist scriptures. The (see Bigandet's " Life or 
Legend of Gaudama, the Buddha of the Bui-mese," two vols., 1880, pub- 
lished in Trlibner's Oriental Series) coincidences between the Indian and 


This storv, which is supposed to be the model of our 
spiritual roiiiauces. is said, aud with some probability, to 
be founded in truth ; though the prophetic orthodoxy of 
Damascenus has anticipated discussions which were not 
agitated for centuries after the era of his saints. 

To a carnal mind, tlie tale in itself is destitute of inte- 
rest. Martyrs and magicians, theological arguments and 
triumphs over infidelity, alternately occupy the naiTator, 
while Satan and his agents lie in wait for every opportu- 
nity to entrap the unwary Neophytes. 

The style of the work is formed on the sacred writings, 
and it is not altogether without reason that the origin of 
spiritual romance has been traced to the apocryj^hal books 
of Scriptm-e. The long discoui'ses of Barlaam abound with 
parabolical allusions — in agreeable and ingenious simili- 
tudes. Indeed, in so long a composition, and of such a 
species, it is surprising that the author should have con- 

the Christian story are so palpable, that they have been pointed out in- 
dependently of each other, by M. Laboulaye (Debats, 1859, July 21 and 
26), Dr. Liebrecht (Die Quellen des Barlaam, etc., Jahrb. fiir Roman, 
und Engl. Litteratui-, 1860, ii. p. 314), and Mr. S. Beal (Travels of Fah- 
hian and Sung-Yun, Buddhist Pilgrims from China to India (400 a.d. 
518 A.D., translated from the Chinese 1869). Possibly even a proper 
name may have been transferred from the sacred canon of the Buddhists 
to the pages of the Greek writer, Buddha's coachman is called Chan- 
daka, in Burmese, Sanna. Barlaam's companion, is called Zardan. 
Keinaud, in his Me'moire sur ITnde, p. 91 (1849), was the first, it 
seems, to point out that Youdasf, mentioned by Massoudi as the founder 
of the Saba'an religion, and Youasaf, mentioned as the founder of 
Buddhism by the author of the Kitab-al-Fihrist, are both meant for 
Bodhisattva, a corruption quite intelligible with the system of transcrib- 
ing that name with Persian letters. Professor Beniey (Zeitschrift der 
Deutschen Morgenliindischen Gesellschaft, vol, xxiv. p. 480) has identi- 
fied Theudas, the sorcerer, in Barlaam and Joseph, with the Deva- 
datta of the Buddhist scriptures. The story of Barlaam and Josaphat, 
through the Latin translation (attributed to George of Trebizond), and 
quoted by Vincent of Beauvais in the middle of the thirteenth century, 
became immensely popular in the middle ages, and seems to have been 
translated into nearly all the European languages, as well as into 
Arabic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Hebrew, and Syriac, The Russian Early 
Texts Society has recently (1881) published a Serbian Version made 
from the Greek in the fifteenth century by the Serbian writer 

See Professor Max Mueller's Essay on the Migration of Fables, from 
which the preceding remarks have been chieHy taken (Max Mueller, 
Chips from a German Workshop, 1875, vol. iv. p. 145, etc.). 

I. F 


trived so mucli to enliven the dialogue, and render it so 
little tedious. 

Wlien the Christian religion had spread abroad in 
Egypt, and the fame of the sanctity of its teachers reached 
even to India, where many, relinquishing their property, 
dedicated themselves to the solitary worship of God, there 
reigned in the east a certain king, named Abenner. This 
23ersonage was distinguished by the elegance of his form, 
and success in war, but darkened his other bright qualities 
by a superstitious regard to idols. All things prospered 
under his hands, and the want of children alone aj^pears to 
have reminded him of the inadequacy of his power for 
securing happiness. 

In the midst of this prosperity, Abenner was annoyed 
by the troops of monks and Christians, who, by their zeal 
in preaching, brought over from the worship of idols 
many of the most considerable nobles of the country. En- 
raged at this defection, and unacquainted with the truth of 
the doctrines disseminated, the king instituted a grievous 
persecution against all who jjrofessed the new religion. 
Many of the ordinary worshippers tottered in their faith ; 
but the monastic class, by suffering martyrdom, enjoyed a 
glorious opportunity of showing their zeal [c. I]. A dis- 
tinguished satrap, moreover, unterrified by the sufferings 
of the Christians, embraced the occasion for declaring his 
conversion, and in an elaborate speech endeavoured to 
seduce the king. His majesty, however, with rare forbear- 
ance, dismissed him, without conferring the crown of mar- 
tyrdom ; but as a testimony of the inefficacy of his preach- 
ing, increased the rigour of his persecution, and bestowed 
new honours on the worship^Ders of idols [c. 2] . 

After these aberrations a son is born to Abenner of sin- 
gular beauty ; overjoyed by the accomplishment of his 
strongest wish, he proclaims a great festival, and assembles 
about fifty of the most eminent of the astrologers skilled 
in the learning of the Chaldeans. These sages predict that 
the young prince would surpass in wealth, power, and 
glory, all his predecessors.^ Daniel alone of their number 

^ Dr. Liebrecht, who has published a German edition of the romance 
translated from the Greek, states that in the original no name is given to 
the astrologer. 


foretells his distiiii^uislietl zeal for the Christian religion, 
and declares that the glory to which he was destined was 
reserved for him in another and a better world. 

The king, dismayed by this prophecy, bethinks himself 
of human means to avert its completion. For this purpose 
he builds a splendid palace, in which he places his son, and 
where, by providing him with teachers and attendants of 
the most healthy and beautiful appearance, he is careful 
that no symptoms of death, or disease, or poverty, or any- 
thing that could molest him, should fall under his ob- 

After these arrangements, so well calculated for the good 
education of a young prince, finding that some of the 
monks still survived, Abenner renews the persecution 
[c. 3], and on two of their number he bestows the crown of 
martyrdom, which indeed they appear to have eagerly 
solicited [c. 4]. 

Meanwhile Prince Josaphat waxed strong, and possess- 
ing great ingenuity, and a prodigious love of learning, gives 
mucii disquietude to his teachers, whom he frequently 
2:)uzzles by his questions. 

Notwithstanding the anxiety of the king, to keep the 
mind of his son unacquainted with every idea productive 
of pain, the irksomeness of his confinement, and a desire 
to learn its cause, harass and distress him. Having, there- 
fore, persuaded one of his attendants to inform him of the 
prediction of the astrologer, and the cause of the persecu- 
tion of the Christians, he obtains permission from the 
king to leave his prison, his guards receiving instructions 
that wherever he went he should be surrounded with all 
imaginable delights : But in spite of the vigilance of those 
about him, to remove all unseemly objects from his sight, 
he one day steals a glance at a leper, and soon after has a 
full view of an old man in the last stage of decrepitude, 
by which means he gradually acquires the ideas of disease 
and of death [c. 5]. 

In these days the word of God came to Barlaam, a pious 
monk, who dwelt in the wilderness of Sennaar, and moved 
him to attempt the conversion of Josaphat. Having, 
therefore, girt himself with worldly vesture, he journeyed, 
in disguise of a merchant, towards India, till he arrived at 


the residence of tlie young prince. Here he insinuated 
himself into the confidence of the attendant who had re- 
vealed to Josaphat the prediction of the astrologer. He 
informed this person that he wished to present the prince 
with a gem which was of great price, and was endowed 
with many virtues. Under this similitude of a worldly 
jewel, he typified the beauties of the gospel; and the 
prince having heard the story of the merchant, ordered 
him to be instantly introduced [c. 6]. Barlaam having 
thus gained admittance, premises his instructions with a 
summary of sacred history, from the fall of Adam to the 
resurrection of our Saviour ; and, having in this way 
excited the attention and curiosity of Josaphat, who con- 
jectures that this is the jewel of the merchant [c. 7, 8], he 
gradually proceeds to unfold all the mysteries and incul- 
cate all the credenda of Christianity. 

The sacrament of baptism [c. 8], and the communion 
under both species — faith — works — and the resurrection, 
with all the various topics such subjects involve, are suc- 
cessively expounded and illustrated. Josaphat yields im- 
plicit assent to the doctrines of Barlaam, and is admitted 
to a knowledge of all the questions which agitated the 
church in these early periods. 

The consideration of the seclusion of the monks, and the 
efficacy of retirement in withdrawing their minds from this 
world, with a warm eulogy on this sj^ecies of martyrdom 
[c. 12], prepare the way for Barlaam to throw off the ter- 
restrial habiliments of the merchant, and to appear before 
his pupil in all the luxury of spiritual cleanness. An 
ancient goat-skin (from the effect of the sun, almost in- 
corporated with his fleshless bones) served him as a shirt, 
a rough and ragged hair-cloth descended from his loins to 
his knees, and a cloak of the same texture suspended from 
the shoulders composed the uj^per garment of this disciple 
of St. Anthony. 

Unappalled by the horror of this picture, Josaphat en- 
treats the monk to release him from confinement, and to 
accept him as a companion in the desert ; but is dissuaded 
by the prudence of Barlaam, who fears that, by the failure 
of such a premature step, he might be debarred from the 
completion of his pious work [c. 18], 


Having, therefore, baptized Josaphat, and left him his 
leathern doublet aud hair-cloth as memorials of his con- 
version, and to ward off the attacks of Satan, he departs 
to the deserts after a profusion of prayer for the prince's 
perseverance in well-doing [c. 21]. 

During his absence, Josaphat continues to manifest his 
zeal by every kind of mortification and prayer. Unfortu- 
nately, however, Zardan, one of his attendants, who was 
apprised of his conversion, uneasy at the neglect of his 
trust, reveals to the king the visits of Barlaam. 

Forth v\ath Abenner, being grievously enraged and 
troubled, betakes himself to Arachis, a celebrated astro- 
loger, to whom he discovers the lamentable predicament 
of his son. 

Arachis soon restores composure to the king, by pro- 
posing two expedients for the removal of this grievance. 
The first of these was to lay hold of Barlaam, and, by 
threatening the torture, to compel him to confess the false- 
hood of his doctrine. Should Barlaam escape, he next 
proposed to persuade Nachor, an ancient mathematician, 
who had a strong resemblance to the monk, to allow him- 
seK to be discomfited in a disputation on the truth of 
Christianity ; by which means he expects that Josaphat 
will without difficulty come over to the triumphant party. 

In their endeavours to overtake Barlaam the Impious 
are imsuccessful ; but the king again suffers his wrath 
against the monks to overpower his humanity, and seven- 
teen of these ascetics, who refuse, with many contemptuous 
reproaches, to discover the retreat of Barlaam, are tortured 
and put to death [c. 22, 23].- 

Eecourse was now had to the second expedient of 
Arachis, who, having arranged matters wath Nachor, signi- 
fies that he had got hold of Barlaam ; and the king having 
proclaimed an amnesty, invites the Christians, with the 
most learned of the heathen, to be present at a public dis- 
putation with the hermit, on the merits of the new faith. 

The invitation to the Christians, however, appears not to 
have been accepted, for, "vvith the exception of Barachias 
(who will appear in a still more dignified situation here- 
after), no one comes forward in behalf of the pretended 
Barlaam [c. 26]. Spite of this untoward circumstance. 


tlie false Barlaam, like the celebrated Balaam of old 
[4 Moses, xxii.], instead of cursing the king's enemies, 
blesses them altogether [c. 27]. The menaces of Josaphat, 
who, having discovered the imjDOsition, threatened to tear 
out the heart and tongue of Nachor with his own hands, 
should he be overcome in the argument, a2:)pear to have 
operated on him as the flaming sword of the angel on the 
prudent and patient monitor of Balaam [c. 26]. However 
this may be, to the astonishment and displeasure of Aben- 
ner, Nachor, in his reply to the idolaters, proves the errors 
of their tenets, and the divine nature of Christianity. 

Dividing the diiferent religions into three classes, the 
worship of the gods, the Jewish faith, and the belief in 
Christ, he exposes the absurdity of the two first, and con- 
cludes his harangue by demonstrating the superiority of 
the New Eeligion. All this the Magi are unable to refute, 
and the king, after many vain attempts to remind Nachor 
of his instructions, is obliged to dissolve the assembly, 
with the intention of renewing the conference on the fol- 
lowing day [c. 27]. Josaphat, however, in the course of 
the night completes the conversion of Nachor, who betakes 
himself in the morning to the wilderness, to work out his 
salvation in private. 

When these things come to the knowledge of the king, 
he is, as usual, much irritated; and the prudent monks 
being no longer exposed to his resentment, his wise men 
and astrologers are flogged, and dismissed with disgrace. 
But, spite of these tokens of impartiality, his time was not 
yet come, though he no longer offers sacrifice to the gods, 
nor holds their ministers in honour [c. 28]. 

The servants of the idols perceiving the estrangement of 
the king, and fearing the loss of offerings he was wont to 
make to the gods, call to their aid Theudas, a celebrated 
magician, by whose instigation Abenner is again induced 
to interfere with the tranquillity of his son. 

Presuming on the influence of the sexual passion, 
Abenner [c. 29], by advice of Theudas, orders the atten- 
dants of the jmnce to be removed, and in their room 
damsels of most alluring beauty are placed around him. 
Josaphat appears to have borne their assaults with won- 
derful fortitude, though the proceedings of one of them 


were so violent, that the pious Damasceniis ascribes tlieiii 
to the operation of demons, who were understood by the 
primitive Christians to be the authors and patrons of 

A more dangerous trial, however, is yet reserved for 
Josaphat. The most beautiful of his maiden attendants 
was a young princess, a captive of Abenner. In this damsel 
the prince takes a peculiar interest, and, reflecting on her 
misfortunes, he uses every endeavour to solace her by con- 
version to Christianity. Instigated by the demons, she 
jn-omises to accede to this change of religion, on condition 
that the prince should espouse her ; and on his declining 
a tie incompatible with his vow of celibacy, she labours to 
convince him of its innocence, supporting her arguments 
by the example of the patriarchs, and others distinguished 
by their piety. Josaphat, however, is determined against 
this formal breach of his engagements ; and the princess 
is at length compelled to promise that she will embrace 
Christianity on more moderate terms. This was too much 
for the piety of Josaphat to resist, and the glory of redeem- 
ing the soul of the damsel, appeared to him to atone for 
the coi*2)oreal defilement, on which she insisted as a pre- 

At this perilous crisis, and when the princess seems to 
have been on the brink of conversion, Josaphat bethinks 
himself of prayer. After some hours spent in tears and 
supplications, he falls into a profound sleep, during which 
it appeared to him that he was conveyed to an immense 
meadow, adorned with beautiful and fragrant flowers, and 
with trees bearing every species of fruit, whose leaves, when 
shaken by the breeze, produced at once celestial melody 
and delicious odoiu-. The eyes were refreshed by streams 
which glided along more pure than crystal, while couches, 
scattered through the meadow and luxuriously prepared, 
invited to repose. Thence he was carried into a city which 
shone with ineffable splendour. The walls were formed 
of burnished gold, and the bulwarks, which towered above 
them, were of precious stones, superior to those produced 
in the mines of this world. A supernatural light, diffused 

^ Cf. also Barlaam et Jos., c. 32, c. 33, c. 35 ; Milton's " Paradise 
I/jst,'' i. V. 376-522; and Turpin's Chronicle, c. 4. — Lieb. 


from above, illumined the streets, ^tlierial bands, clothed 
in shining vestments, channted strains which had never 
yet reached the ear of mortal, and a voice was heard saying, 
" This is the rest of the just, this is the joy of those who 
have pleased the Lord." His guides refusing the re- 
. quest of Josaphat to remain in one of the corners of this 
city, he was again carried across the meadow, and on the 
opposite side he entered dark and gloomy caverns, through 
which whirlwinds blew with unceasing violence, and the 
worm and serpent rioted on the souls of sinners in a furnace 
blown to fury by the breath of demons. 

Josaphat awakens greatly exhausted by this vision, and 
fortified in his virtuous resolutions by the very striking 
contrast which had been exhibited. At the same period 
likewise, the demons (as afterwards appeared from their 
own confession), had been put to flight by a sign of the 
cross which the prince had fortunately made, and thus left 
him to combat with his earthly antagonist alone. 

The scheme of the idolaters having thus failed, and the 
captive princess being abandoned to virginity and reproba- 
tion, Theudas attempts in a conference to shake the faith 
of Josaphat ; but the latter victoriously converts the 
magician, and sends him, like Nachor, to the desert, where 
he is baptized, and passes the remainder of his life in vent- 
ing tears and groans, and in producing other fruits of 
repentance [c. 31, 32]. 

At length the king determines no longer to harass his 
son on the score of religion ; but, by the advice of Arachis, 
divides his kingdom with him, hoping that the cares of 
government may withdraw him from his ascetic habits. 
The first use, however, which Josaphat makes of his new- 
acquired power, is to erect the cross on every tower of the 
city where he dwells, while the temples and the altars of 
the idols are levelled with the dust ; he also dedicates to 
oui' Saviour a magnificent cathedral, where he preaches the 
gospel to his subjects, calls many from darkness to light, 
and distributes his treasures among the poor. Now God 
(says the pious author of this history) was with him 
whithersoever he walked, and all that he did prospered 
under his hands ; but it was not so with the household 
of Abenner, which daily waxed weaker and weaker [c. 33]. 


Presuming that this distinction woukl not have been 
made without a cause, the king finally allows himself to 
be converted by Josaphat ; whose spiritual son he thus be- 
comes, to the imutterable edification and comfort of the 
monks ; and then retires from the government of his king- 
dom to a solitary place, where he chiefly employs himself 
in throwing dust on his head, and at length gives up the 
ghost after a long course of penitence and mortification 
[e. 35]. 

Josaphat being now left without check, resolves to retire 
from the world, and pass the remainder of his days with 
Barlaam in the desert. Having therefore harangued his 
people, and compelled Barachias, the person who stood for- 
ward to defend the false Barlaam, to ascend the vacant 
throne, much against the inclination of the prince elect, he 
escapes with some difiiculty from his subjects [c. 36]. 

After a painful pilgrimage of many days, in the course 
of which he meets with numberless demons, tempting him 
sometimes in the form of springs of water, and sometimes 
in the less acceptable shape of wild beasts and serpents 
[c. 37], he arrives at the cell of Barlaam [c. 38]. 

There, after due preparation by devout exercises, the 
old man dies, and is buried by Josaphat, who spends thirty- 
five years in supplications to heaven, for a speedy removal 
from this life. The holy men of these times indeed appear 
to have passed their existence, as if they had been brought 
into this world only for the purpose of praying for their 
deliverance from its thraldom [c. 39]. 

The prayers of Josaphat are at length heard, and he is 
buried by a neighbouring hermit in the grave of Barlaam. 

When the account of his demise reaches his successor, 
Barachias, he comes with a great retinue to the desert ; 
and having raised the bodies of Josaphat and Barlaam, 
which he finds perfectly entire, and (which could not have 
been expected in the lifetime of the saints) emitting a most 
grateful odour, he transports them to his metropolis. 
There they are deposited in a magnificent church, in which 
they continued to work miracles, as they had done in the 
course of their journey, and before they were again interred 
[c. 40]. 

Such is the principal story of Josaphat and Barlaam, 


but the romance is interspersed with many beautiful 
parables and apologues, most of which bear evident marks 
of oriental origin. These are chiefly introduced as having 
been told by Barlaam to the young prince, in order to 
illustrate and embellish the sacred doctrines which he was 

A man flying from an unicorn, by which he was pursued, 
had nearly fallen into a deep pit, but saved himself by 
grasping the twigs of a slender shrub which grew on the 
side [c. 12]. While he hung suspended over the abyss by 
this feeble hold, he observed two mice, the one white and 
the other black, gnawing the root of the plant to which he 
had trusted. At the bottom of the gulf he saw a monstrous 
dragon, breathing forth flames, and preparing to devour 
him ; while by this time the unicorn was looking at him 
over the verge of the precipice. In this situation he per- 
ceived honey distilling from the branches to which he 
clung, and, unmindful of the horrors by which he was sur- 
rounded, he satiated himself with the sweets which were 
dropping from the boughs. — Here the unicorn tyj^ifies 
death, by which all men are pursued ; the pit is the world, 
full of evils ; the shrub, of which the root was corroded by 
the white and black mouse, is life, diminished, and at 
length consumed, by the hours of day and night; the 
dragon is hell ; and the honey temporal pleasures, which 
we eagerly follow, regardless of the snares which are every- 
where spread for our destruction.^ 

In order to inculcate the wisdom of laying up treasures 
in heaven, we are told [c. 14], that a certain state observed 
the custom of choosing a foreigner for its king, and after 
allowing him to pass a certain time in all imaginable 
delights, drove him, by a general insurrection, into a 
remote and desert island. One of these monarchs, learning 
how frail was the tenure by which he held the sovereignty, 

^ This parable, which forms chap, iv. of the Kalilah ve Dimnah, has 
found its way from Indian sources into almost every literature in the 
world. See Max Mueller's " Chips from a German Workshop," 1875 
ed., A'ol. iv. p. 178. Cf. Benfey, Panschatantra, i. 80, ii. 528 5 S. Julien, 
Avadanas, i. 132, 191 ; Gesta Romanoruraj cap. 168 ; Homayun Naraeh, 
caput iv. ; Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, vol. ii. p. 798 ; F. Liebrecht, 
Jahrblicher flir Rom. und Engl. Literatur. 1860; Loiseleur Deslong- 
ohamps, Essai sur les Fables Indiennes, p. 64, &c. 


instead of cousumiiiij^ his time, like his predecessors, in 
feasts and caronsals, employed himself in amassing heaps 
of gold and silver and precious stones, which he transmitted 
to the island to which he expected to be conveyed. Thither 
(when the period of banishment at length arrived) he be- 
took himself without pain or reluctance, and while he saw 
his foolish predecessors perishing with want, he passed the 
remainder of his days in joy and abundance/ 

A powerful and magnificent king, during an excursion 
through the streets of his capital [c. 16], observed a glim- 
mering hght, and looking through a chink of the door 
whence it issued, he perceived a subterraneous habitation, 
in which was seated a man clothed in rags, and apparently 
in the last extremity of want. By him sat his wife, hold- 
ing an earthen cup in her hand, but singing and delighting 
her husband with all sorts of merriment. The king ex- 
2)ressing his wonder at the thoughtlessness of those who 
could rejoice in such penury, his minister embraced the 
opportimity of teaching him, that princes who exult in 
splendid palaces and royal vestments, appear still more 
thoughtless to the glorified inhabitants of the eternal 

There is also related a story [c. 13], which has been fre- 
quently imitated, of a person who was prosecuted for a 
debt due to the crown, and who, on applying to friends 
whom he had supported, or for whom he had exposed his 
life, is repulsed by them all, but is at length relieved by 
an enemy, whom he had oj^pressed and persecuted.^ 

• This parable is likewise of Oriental extraction, and is essentially the 
same as No. 1509 of Aohmed Ben Arabschah, given by Cardonne, in 
Melanges de Litt. orient., i. 68. F. W. V. Schmidt (Wien. Jahrb. xxvi. 
41) gives further references to the various forms of this parable 5 it is, 
moreover, the source of the 40th chapter of the Conde Lucanor. — Lieb. 

- L'pon this parable see Val. Schmidt's remarks in his Comment. Dis- 
cipl. Cler., p. 95, ct serjq. An imitation of it is found in T. Wright's 
'• Selection of Latin Stories" from MSS. of the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries, London, 1842, No. 108. 

Among other parables in Barlaam and Jos. is that (c. 6) of the caskets 
immortalized by Shakspcre in the Merchant of Venice. See upon 
this Schmidt's remarks in Beitraege zur Geschichte der Romantischen 
Poesie, p. 100. 

A king seeing two emaciated men in ragged clothes, descends from 
his carriage and throws himself at their feet. The magnates of the king- 


It was probably in consequence of the number and 
beauty of these parables that Josaphat and Barlaam be- 
came so great a favourite, and was so frequently imitated 
during the middle ages. In a later period it gave rise to 
more than one of the tales of Boccaccio, as will a^^jDear 
when we come to treat of the Italian novelists ; and it was 
unquestionably the model of that species of spiritual 
fiction, which was so prevalent in France during the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries. 

Josaphat and Barlaam, however, was the last example of 
this species of composition j^roduced during the existence 
of the eastern empire ; the only Greek romance by which 
it was succeeded, being formed on the model of Theagenes 

dom evince displeasure, and the king's brother gives expression to the 
same sentiment. It was the custom of the land to send a herald to 
sound a blast on his trumpet at the doors of such as were condemned to 
death. The king despatches a messenger of this kind to his brother, 
who presents himself with his family before the prince, with all the signs 
of despair. " Fool," says the King to him, " thou fearest the messenger 
of thy brother, although thou art not conscious of any offence, and yet 
thou blamest me for humbly greeting the heralds of my God, who with 
clear sound announced my death and the awful approach of the Lord, 
before whom I am guilty of great and numerous sins." In order to 
abash the magnates, he causes four caskets to be made. Two richly gilt 
but filled with stinking bones, with gold locks ; two covered with pitch, 
bound with cords, filled with precious stones, pearls, and fragrant oint- 
ments. The reproachful gi-andees, upon being commanded to choose, 
select the gilt coffers, and the King exclaims, " I knew it, for ye see the 
outward with the eyes of sense." What in Boccaccio (x. 1), where the 
caskets are not differenced, is laid to the caprice of fortune, is hei'e as- 
cribed to spiritual blindness and perversity of judgment. For an account 
of this legend and its remote origin, see infra. Boccaccio's " Decameron," 
day X. story 1, and note. 

Upon the parable (c. 10) of the bird, and to three lessons, see Val. 
Schmidt notes to Discipl. Cler. p. 151, and to Straparola, p. 288, and 
Graesse on No. 167 of the Gesta Rom. 

The parable (c. 29 or 30) popularized by Boccaccio (page iv, Intro- 
duction) is translated almost literally from Barlaam, in No. 13 of the 
Cento Novelle Antiche, while another reproduction is found in Cornaz- 
zano' Proverbi, Prov. 9. Hans Sachs, 4, 2, 125, tells the story just as it 
is in Barlaam, but of the son of the Swedish King Haldan. See F. W. V. 
Schmidt, Beitraege, p. 27, also V. d. Hagen Gesammtabenteuer, No. 23, 
T. Wright, Latin Stories, Nos. 3 and 78, and Herolt, Promptuarium ex- 
emplorum. No. 24. According to Du Meril, Histoire de la Poesie Scan- 
dinave, p. 348, the story of this attempted seduction as narrated by Boc- 
caccio bears a close resemblance with an episode of the Ramayana called 
the Seduction of Rikyafriuga (Chezy Sacountala, p. 278).— Lieb. 


and Charic'loa. or rather of tlie Clitoj>li(»ii and Luiieippe. 
Indeed, in this last and feeble example of Grecian fiction, 
we seldom meet with an incident of which we have not the 
prototype in the romances of Heliodorus or Tatius. , It is 
entitled : 

Hysmene and Hysmenias/ 

and was written by Eustathius, sometimes called Euma- 
thius," who flourished, as Huet terms it, in the 12tli cen- 
tury, during the reign of the emperor Emanuel Comnenus. 
The commencement of the story, and the mode in which 
the hero and heroine become acquainted, is evidently 
taken from Heliodorus. Ismenias or Hysmenias is sent 
as a herald from his native city, Eurycomis, for the 
performance of some annual ceremony, to Aulycomis, 
where he is hosj^itably entertained by Sosthenes, the 
father of Ismene or Hysmene. This young lady is seized 
with a passion for the herald, on seeing him for the 
first time at dinner ; she presses his hand, makes love 
to him under shelter of the table, and at length pro- 
ceeds so far that Ismenias bursts into laughter [1. i.]. 
Heliodorus has painted his Arsace, and Tatius his Melite, 
as women of this description ; but Eustathius is the 
first who has introduced his heroine avowing love mth- 
out modesty and without dehcacy.^ To her advances 

^ To /ca9' 'X(j\nv'iav koli 'Yfffiivtjv dpafia, iroiijfia 'EvaraOiov 7rpoTOvo)(3e- 
Xinifiov Kai fxeyaXoy xapTO<pv\aKOQ tov Traps mioXirov (some MSS. have 
fiaKpeniSoXiTov, the meaning of tlie epithet seems in either case to be un- 
known. Graesse, p. 768, infers Eustathius to have been a Christian 
from a passage resembling part of Psalm cxxxix., which, however, Kohde 
(p. 523) shows is imitated rather from his usual model Achilles Tatius. 
Indeed, the whole story is, according to Rohde (p. 525), merely a cari- 
cature of the work of Tatius. See Graesse, Lehrb. Bd. i. p. 768. 

- As in the Vatican Codex, 1 14, see xii. or xiii., which is, however, the 
best of the MSS., above twenty in number, which are known. The work 
is in eleven books. Eustathius. it is considered, cannot have written before 
865, as in his collection of riddles mention is made of the Russian people, 
whose first contact with Byzantium is referred to that year. See l^icolai. 
Griechisclie Literaturgeschichte, iii. pp. 359, 60, where an account of the 
various MSS. and editions will be found. It has been suspected that 
Gaulmin, who published the work with a Latin translation in 1618, 
adopted the name of Eustathius, in order to make the public believe that 
the romance was written by the commentator on Homer of that name. 

^ This forwardness M. Gidel looks upon as an outcome of the exces- 


Ismenias at length makes some return [1. iv.], and tlie 
period of his embassy being expired, he departs to his 
native place, Eurycomis, accompanied by Sosthenes and 
his daughter Ismene, whom he entertains in his father's 
house [1. V.]. One day, at dinner, Sosthenes accidentally 
mentions that his daughter is speedily to be married. 
Ismene, who appears to have been previously unacquainted 
with this projected change in her situation, insists, in the 
course of the following night, on an immediate elopement 
with Ismenias. She dragged me along (says Ismenias, 
who relates the story), nor would she quit her hold, though 
I affirmed that the things necessary for her departure were 
not prepared. I with difficulty, at length, escaped from 

sive deference and respect shown to women in the West and reflected in 
Eustathius' work. 

In the romance of Aionl, a maiden presents herself at the couch of a 
knight and places herself at his discretion (Histoire Litteraire de la 
France, t. xxii.). In I Reali di Francia which is but a translation of 
divers French romances, the maidens behave similarly. Fegra Albano 
di Barbaria, Dusolina and Galeana are enamoured of Fioravante, and do 
not hesitate to tell him so. Galeana dies from grief at seeing herself 
despised (Lib. ii. ch. iv.). A captain's daughter falls in love with Gis- 
berto upon hearing his praise, and resorts to him in prison (Lib. iii. 
c. 8). Druziana, daughter of King Erminione, declares her love to 
Buovo d'Antona (the Italian Sir Bevis of Hampton), Lib. iv. cc. 10, 11, 
etc. A. C. Gidel, Etudes sur la Litterature grecque Moderne, Paris, 
1866, p. 14. 

How early Western romances may have found readers in the East it 
would be difficult to determine. About 1410, however, a lord Beau- 
champ, travelling in the East, was hospitably received at Jerusalem by 
the Soldan's lieutenant, " who hearing that he was descended from the 
famous Guy of Warwick, whose story they had in hooks of their own lan- 
guage, invited him to his palace, etc." Baron, i. p. 243, col. i. ; Warton, 
Hist. Eng. Poetry, ed. Hazlitt, 1871, a-oI. ii. p. 145 note. 

Woi'ks such as AvjSvarpog km 'Poddfivr], BeXOavdpog /cat XpvadvrZct 
seem to have been works composed after Prankish models rather than 
translations. Belthandros is probably an Oriental form of Bertrand, 
'Poc6(j)i\oQ, his father's name, a felicitous equivalent of Rodolphe, and 
perhaps $(Xap/iog, brother of Belthandros, is for AVillermus. In Byzan- 
tine historians Guillaume is sometimes rendered TovXiapixbg. In the 
Libystros, the name BtpSepixog is according to Crusius (Turco-Grrecidae, 
libri viii. p. 489), is Frederick, and in " rojpa cnroQvr^nKHQ cKsXTre," the 
last word is the Gei'man Schelm. He considers the romance may have 
been written at the time when the Germans, French, and Venetians, 
reigned at Constantinople under the Counts of Flanders. Gidel, Etudes, 
chap. iii. 


her hands, ealliiiijj all the u;ods to witness. — Ismenias, how- 
ever, on leaving her, does not go to prejjare for the elope- 
ment, hut to sleep [1. vi.] ; which, indeed, is the constant 
resource of the hero of this romance in every emergency. 
Throughout the whole work he consults his pillow, in cir- 
cumstances which should have converted a sleeper of 
Ephesus into an Argus. At length, by the exertions of 
Cratisthenes, the friend of Ismenias, a vessel is procured, 
in which the lovers embark. A storm having arisen, and 
a victim being thought necessary by the sailors to appease 
Neptune, the lot falls on Ismene, who is accordingly 
thrown overboard. The wind of course is allayed ; but as 
the lover of Ismene disturbs the crew with his lamenta- 
tions, he is set ashore on the coast of Ethiopia [1. vii.]. 
After being thus disembarked, he experiences the usual 
adventures with pirates, and is at last sold as a slave at 
Daphnipolis, to a Greek master ; who soon after goes as 
herald to another city in Greece, and carries Ismenias 
along with him [1. viii.]. The herald and his slave are 
received in the house of Sostratus, where Ismenias dis- 
covers Ismene, living in a servile condition. When thrown 
into the sea, she had been j^reservecl by the exertions of a 
dolphin, and had afterwards been sold by pirates to Sos- 
tratus [1. ix. xi.]. This gentleman, with his daughter, and 
also Ismene, attend the master of Ismenias to Daphni- 
polis. In the middle of the night wliich followed their 
an'ival in that city, the whole band proceed to worship in 
the temple of Apollo. Here the father and mother of 
Ismenias, and the parents of Ismene, are discovered tear- 
ing their hair, and lamenting in full chorus. The lovers 
are recognized by their parents, and redeemed from servi- 
tude, after the heroine has been subjected to the usual 
trial of chastity. 

In this romance, which consists of eleven books, no dis- 
tressing incident (except indeed to the reader) occurs till 
the sixth, in which Ismene's intended marriage is first 
alluded to by her father. The five preceding books pre- 
sent one continued scene of jollity, and the long descrip- 
tions of festivity are seldom interrupted, except by still 
longer accounts of dreams, which are represented as having 
been infinitely more agreeable than could be expected, from 


tlie loaded stomaclis of the sleepers. As the work ad- 
vances, these dreams become quite ridiculous, from their 
accurate minuteness, and the long reasonings carried on in 
them by persons whose stock of logic, even when awake, 
does not appear to have been very extensive. 

The story of Ismene and Ismenias is not intricate in 
itself, but is perplexed by the similarity of names. The 
reader must be far advanced in the work before he learns 
to distinguish the hero from the heroine ; especially as the 
latter acts a jDart which in most romances is assigned to 
the former. Eurycomis is the city from which Ismenias is 
sent as herald. In Aulycomis he is received by Sosthenes, 
the father of Ismene ; and is sold to a G-reek master at 
Daphnipolis, who goes as herald to Artycomis, where he is 
entertained by Sostratus. Eu.stathius has perhaps fallen 
into this blemish by imitating Hehodorus, in whose ro- 
mance Chaereas, Calasiris, and Cnemon are the names of 
the principal characters. 

Eustathius resembles the author of Clitophon and Leu- 
cippe, in his fondness for descriptions of paintings. The 
second and fourth books are full of accounts of allegorical 
pictures in the temples and summer-house of the garden 
of Sosthenes, which were hung with representations of the 
four cardinal virtues, and also with emblems of each of the 
twelve months of the year. A reaper is drawn for July ; a 
person bathing for August ; and one sitting by the fire for 
February. Some of these allegories, however, are rather 
far-fetched ; thus it is not very ai^posite to make a soldier 
the emblem of March, because that month is the most 
favourable for military expeditions. From Tatius also the 
author of Ismene and Ismenias borrows that ticklish ex-. 
periment, which winds up the fable of so many of the 
G-reek romances, with such honour to the heroines, and 
such satisfaction, to their lovers. From Longus, according 
to Huet, he has taken that celebrated j^iece of gallantry,^ 
<vhich consists in drinking from the i^art of a goblet which 
had been touched by the lips of a mistress. But this 
artifice, which has been introduced in so many amatory 
compositions,^ may be traced much higher than the Daphnis 

^ Elegans urbanitatis genus. — Huet, Orig. Fab. 
2 Moore's ode : The Fall of Hebe. 


aud Cliloe of Lodsj:us. It is one of the counsels i;iven Ly 
Ovid in his Art ot" Love: (de Art. Amat. lib. i. 575.) 

Fac primus rapias illius tacta labellis 
Pocula : 4uatiue bibit parte puella, bibe. 

Lucian, too, in one of his dialogues,^ makes Jupiter pay 
this compliment to Ganymede ; and the same conceit may 
be found in a collection of letters by the sophist Philo- 
stratus, who wrote in the second century. " Drink to me," 
says he, " with thine eyes only, or if thou wilt, putting the 
cup to thy lips, fill it with kisses, and so bestow it upon me." " 

On account of his numerous plagiarisms, Eustathius is 
violently attacked by Huet, who says that he rather tran- 
scribes than imitates the work of Tatius. " Indeed," con- 
tinues he, " there can be nothing more frigid than this 
romance, nothing meaner, nothing more unpleasant and 
disgusting. In the whole there is no decency, no probability, 
no invention, no happy disposition of incident. The author 
introduces the hero relating his own adventures ; but one 
cannot discover whom he addresses, or why he is discoursing. 
Ismene is first enamom-ed, she first confesses and offers 
love without modesty, without shame, and without art. 
Ismenias takes no hint from these caresses, nor does he 
make any return. This may be praiseworthy in morals or 
philosophy, but is wretched in romance. In short, the 
whole is the work of some raw school-boy, or unskilful 
sophist, from whose hands the birch ought never to have 
been withdrawn." 

These remarks of Huet may in general be well founded, 
but his censure of Eustathius for not having created a cha- 
racter to whom the hero recounts his history woidd be aj)- 
plicable, if just, not only to the work he criticises, but to 
many of our best " modem novels and romances. The 
method adopted by Achilles Tatius, of introducing a listener, 

' Dialog. Deor. vol. i. p. 129. / 5 1 ^f 

* Efioi ci ^ovoig TTpoTTii's rolg ufifjami'. 'Ei ct /iaXei toIc xeiXecri 7Tpo<T- 
tptpaaa 7r\i)pn (piXijficiTujv to tKirw^a, kui HTiog c«(^«. 24. This idea, along 
with many other tar-fetched conceits of Philostratus, has been imitated 
bj Ben Jonson. in his poem entitled the Forest : — 

" Drink to me only with thine eyes. 

And I will pledge with mine; 
Or leave a kiss but in the cup, 
And I'll not look for wine."' 
I. G 


seems now exploded ; and if we fancy that the hero or 
heroine speaks, the narration must be regarded as a 
soliloquy from beginning to end. But in the modern novel, 
and in the G-reek romance of Ismene and Ismenias, the per- 
sons who relate their story are neither conceived to address 
a friend, nor to report their adventures to themselves, but 
are supposed to have written what the reader peruses. 

Notwithstanding its defects, Ismene and Ismenias has 
been imitated by subsequent poets and winters of romance. 
D'Urfe, in particular, has taken the description of the 
fountain of love introduced in the Astrea,^ from that of 
Diana at Artycomis [1. 8] ; and many of the incidents and 
names in the work of Eustathius have been transferred to 
the Spanish pastoral of Montemayor. 

Besides those Greek romances that have been enumerated, 
there is one entitled Dosicles and Ehodantes, by Theo- 
dorus Prodromus, who wrote about the middle of the 
twelfth century, and was nearly contemporary with Eusta- 
thius, but which shall not be farther mentioned ; as, besides 
being very indifferently written, it is in iambics, and is 
rather a poem than a romance.^ It was followed by a great 
many others of a similar description, in the tweKth and 
thirteenth centuries, all of which are written in iambics ; 
and contain a series of wandering adventures, strung to- 
gether with little art or invention, as the loves of Charicles 
AND Drossilla, by Nicetas Eugenianus, etc. 

Of all these an account has been given by Eabricius, in 
his Bibliotheca Grrseca [1. 5. c. 6.], but the only one deserving 
of notice or attention, is 

The History of Apollonius of Tyre, 

which is written in such barbarous verse, that I can scarcely 
be considered as breaking through my plan, by giving a 
short accomit of it.'' The original Greek, I believe, has only 

^ See infra, Astree. 

^ Gaulmin also edited the Dosicles and Ehodantes, a MS. copy of which 
was transmitted to him by Salmasius, and printed at Paris in 1615. The 
author of this romance, he informs us, was originally from Eussia, but 
became soon after his arrival in Greece, a priest, a physician, and a 

^ Dunlop has mistaken the Neo-Hellenic version of Gabriel Kontianos 
from the Latin, published circ. 1500, for the original Greek work, no 


l3een reoontly edited, but a Latin jirose translation, formed 
as early as the eleventh century, was published soon after 
the invention of printing?, under the title of Apollonii Tyrii 
Historia. In this romance, we are told that Antiochus, 
king of Syria, who entertained towards his daughter warmer 
sentiments than those of paternal affection, in order to 
retain her in his own palace, propounded to her numerous 
suitors a riddle to be explained as the price of her hand. 
ApoUonius, king of Tyre, having fallen in love with the 
princess by report, arrives at the capital of Antiochus, and 
solves the enigma, which contained an allusion to the 
criminal passion of the father. The king of Syria lays 
snares for the destruction of ApoUonius, who escapes from 
his dominions, and after various adventures is driven by a 
storm into the states of a monarch, where his regal descent 
being discovered by the majesty of his appearance, and 
the variety of his accomplishments, the king's daughter 

text of which is known. That the noAel is a translation appears from 
the numerous Gneeisms found in it (Kiese, p. xi-xiii). In c. 34, one 
pound of gold is coined into fifty pieces, whicli was the custom since the 
time of Caracalla, while after Constantine it became usual to go by 
solidi, whence the original would appear to have been composed in the 
time between Caracalla and Constantine (W. Christ. Trans, of the 
Munich Acad. Phil. Hist., CI. 1872, p. 4). The translation must have 
been composed after Symposius (circ. 500) whose enigmas are inserted, 
and before the treatise De Dubiis Nominibus (ssec. vii.), in which the 
novel is quoted. It is also mentioned in a catalogue of books of the 
abbey of St. Wandrille, in Normandy, a.d. 747. (Pertz, Monumenta 
Germaniie Historica, ii. p. 287. Ward, Cat., p. 161.) The author of the 
original work was a native of Asia !Minor (W. Teuffel. Kh. ]\Ius. xxvii, 
104), and a pagan. The translator dressed up the work, though care- 
lessly, in a Christian garb, and at the same time barbarized, enlarged, 
and, towards the end, abbreviated the original work. The sentences are 
freely built up in a plebeian manner and diction, the style is without any 
literary culture, and there are words and phrases which belong to the 
sermo plebeius and remind us greatly of the Romance languages (Kiese, 
p. xiii-xv). About 100 M8S. of the tale are known. It was very freely 
dealt with, and arbitrarily abridged or altered. Three principal reduc- 
tions have been traced. See further W. S. Teuffel, Kom. Lit., p. 560; 
also Hohde der Griech. Kom., p. 408, etc. ; Villemain, Essai sur les 
Komans grecs ; Chassang, Hist, du Kom., p. 411 ; and Nicolai, Ges- 
chichte Griech. iii. p. 362-3. Thepopularity of this romance in the west 
was due to the combination of medifeval romantic elements, both Greek 
and Eastern, which it presented in a dress adapted to frankish taste 
Cholevius (ieschichte der Deutschen Poesie nach iliren antiken Elomen- 
ten, i. p. 152 ; Th. Grasse Die Grossen Sagenkreise des Mittelalters, ii. 3. 


falls in love with liim, and, in order to protract liis stay, 
requests that he may be apjDointed her preceptor in those 
arts in which he had shown himself so skilful. In the 
course of his instructions, Apollonius forgets the princess 
of Syria, and lays claim to the hand of his fair pupil. 
Some months after the marriage had been solemnized, in- 
telligence arrives that Antiochus and his daughter had 
])een struck dead by lightning, and that the aj^pearance of 
Apollonius in Syria would be the signal of a general 
declaration in his favour. With the view of obtaining 
this vacant sovereignty, he sets sail with his wife, who gives 
birth to a daughter during the voyage ; but while in a 
swoon, into which she had soon after fallen, she is believed 
dead, and from the superstition of the crew with regard to 
the malignant influence of corpses at sea, she is immediately 
thrown overboard in a chest. Apollonius lands in a state 
of despair on the coast of Syria, where he entrusts his 
infant daughter to persons on whose fidelity he could 
depend, and then sets out as a wanderer on the face of the 
earth. Wlien his daughter grows up she is carried off by 
pirates, and sold at a Grecian city, where she is preserved 
from infamj^ by the compassion and continence of a young 
man, called Athenagoras, to whose embraces she was pre- 
sented by her purchaser. She continues to earn a sub- 
sistence by her skill in music, till her father, who in the 
course of his wanderings had arrived at that city, in a 
mourning and dejected habit, attracted by the heavenly 
melody of her voice, enters her humble dwelling. For his 
solace and recreation, she sung with exquisite pathos the 
unhai3py story of her infancy, from which Apollonius dis- 
covered that she was indeed his daughter. He affianced 
her to Athenagoras, to whom she had been indebted for 
more than the preservation of life, and then, warned by a 
celestial vision, he dej^arted for Ephesus. There he foimd 
his long-lost queen, who, having been wafted to that coast 
when thrown overboard, had been picked up by a phy- 
sician, who at length succeeded in restoring the almost 
extinguished animation.^ 

Besides the Latin prose version already mentioned, the 

^ A version of the History of Apollonius is found in a Neo-Hellenic 
folk-tale, No. 50 of Hahn's collection 5 in the South Slavonic countries 


romance, or history of Apollouius, was translated into 
Latin verse about tlie end of the twelfth century, by God- 
frey of Viterbo, who introduced it in his Pantheon, or 
Universal Chronicle, as part of the history of Antiochus 
the Third of Syria. It was also inserted in the Gesta 
Romanorum [c. 150], which was written in the four- 
teenth centiu'y, and became soon after the subject of a 
French prose romance, which was the ori^rin of the English 
Kvnge Apolyne of Tyre, printed by Wynkin de Worde 
in 1510.^ It was from the metrical version, however, of 
Godfrey of Viterbo," that the story came to Gower, who 
has told it with little variation in his Confessio Amantis. 
Gower is introduced as speaking the prologue to each of 
the five acts of Pericles, prince of Tyre ; whence it may be 
presumed that the author of that play derived his plot 
from the English poet. The drama of Pericles, as is well 
known, has been the subject of much discussion ; ^ the 
composition of the whole, or greater part of it, -having 
been attributed to Shakspeare, by some of his commentators, 
chiefly on the authority of Dryden : — 

Your Ben and Fletcher in their first young flight, 
Did no Voljwne, no Arbaces write ; 
Shakspeare's own muse his Pericles first bore, 
The Prince of Tyre is elder than the Moor. 

Besides the romances which have been enumerated, 
there appeared during the existence of the eastern emj^ire, 
a number of Greek tales, chiefly derived from mythological 
stories, and resembling those of Parthenius Nicenus ; but 

several confused versions are also current, for one variant of which sec 
Tales from Twelve Tongues, London, 1882 ; The Miller's Daughter, etc. 

^ In the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, there is an 
Anglo-Saxon version of the Apollouius, which was edited by B. Thorpe, 
in 1834. It has a gap in the middle of it and the Kiddles are thus lost. 
Ward, Cat. p. 162. 

^ Chaplain and Clerk to the Emperors Conrad III. (1138), Frederick 
I. (1152), and Henry VI. (1190-1198). This metrical version is part of 
a chronicle entitled the " Pantheon,*' dedicated to Pope Urban III. 
(1185-1187).— AVard, Cat., p. 163 ana 169. 

^ Shakespeare is also supposed to have been indebted to Lawrence 
Twayne's compilation: ''The Patterne of painefull Adventures," first 
published probably in 1576. The story in a modern dress was published 
by ^L le Brun in 1710, under the title of Avantures d'Apollunius de 
'I'hyr. Warton, Hist. Poet., ii. p. 303 note. 


sometimes combined with long discussions on tlie nature 
of love/ However, as these are not written according to 
the rules of romance, but are founded on heathen fables, 
they are not included in the plan that I have adopted. 

A curious account is given by Huet, of a romance of 
disputed authenticity, which appeared under the name of 
Athenagoras, entitled, Du Vrai et Parfait Amour. A copy 
of this work, written in French, was sent, in the year 1569, 
to M. Lamanc, by Martin Fumce, who professes himself 
to be merely the translator. He informs us in the preface 
that he received the Greek copy from this M. Lamane, who 
was protonotary to the cardinal of Armagnac; that he 
had never seen any other manuscript of the work, and 
adds, that it is the production of that Athenagoras, who 
addressed an apology for the Christian religion to the 
emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, which woidd 
make him considerably prior to Heliodorus. In 1599, 
thirty 'years after it was written or translated by Fumee, 
the romance was published by Bernard of Sanjorry, with 
a preface, in which he says that he found among his 
papers a copy of the work, transcribed from the manuscript 
which Fumee had sent to M. de Lamane. 

Huet sj^eaks of this romance at considerable length, in 
the work I have so often quoted. He in the first place 
extols the splendid and interesting manner in which the 
romance opens. " There," says he, " as in a picture, is 
represented the lofty triumph of Paulus Emilius, where, 
amidst so many remarkable objects, the king of Macedon 
is exhibited loaded with chains, and hurried along with 
his children before the chariot of his conqueror. There 
the enamoured Charis, grieving beyond measui-e that she 
had fallen into the j^ower of the Romans, and that she 
had been torn from Theogenes, her lover, is touched with 
delight, on luiexpectedly beholding him ; and at the same 
moment is affected with the most poignant anguish, be- 

^ Constantine Manasses, who lived in the reign of Manuel Comnenus, 
(1143-1180) composed a verse romance in nine books, Tci Kar 'Apicyrav- 
lpoi> Kal KaXXiOeav, known to us only from extracts contained in the 
'Podiomd of Macarius Chrysocephalos (see F. Boissonade, Marcian, 452). 
It exceeds, in absurdity of style and extravagance, all previous compo- 
sitions of the Erotic School (Villoison, Aned. Gr^ec, ii. 75, etc.). For 
editions, etc, see Nicolal, Griech. Literaturgeschichte, p. 362. 


cause she sees him amoiiijf the captives." It is from the 
house of Octavius, a Roman ^^eiieral, into whose power 
she had fallen, that Cliaris views the triumph that excites 
such jarrinjjf emotions. Melantjenia, M-ho tui-ns out to be 
an elderly gentlewoman of Carthage, but was at that time 
the slave of Octavius, is sent to console her. These two 
females recount to each other their early loves and misfor- 
tunes, the recital of which occupies the first six books of 
the romance, and the remaining four contain the adven- 
tures of Cliaris after she had obtained her freedom from 
Octavius, which are in the usual style of those contained 
in the G-reek romances. 

As to the question of the authenticity of this produc- 
tion, the authors of the Bibliothcque des Romans seem to 
think it a genuine work, but do not enter into much dis- 
cussion on the subject. Huet remarks, that the intimate 
knowledge shown by the author, of all those things which 
were discovered by the ancients, both in nature and art ; 
— his wonderful acquaintance with the history of past 
times, and the ancient errors he adopts, into which a 
modem would scarcely have fallen ; the Greek phraseology 
which shines even through the mist of translation ; and, 
above all, the dignity and grace of antiquity, which cannot 
be easily imitated, and in which the whole work is clothed ; 
all conspire to vindicate from the suspicion of forgery. 
The bishop then proceeds to unfold his arguments against 
the genuineness of the work, many of which are not more 
conclusive than those adduced in favour of its authen- 
ticity. The first reason for incredulity is, that the romance 
has not been mentioned in the dictionary of Photius; 
which, if admitted as a proof of fabrication, would render 
spurius the romances of Longus, Chariton, and the three 
Xenophons. Nor is the argument derived from the sup- 
posed imitation of Heliodorus altogether conclusive, since, 
upon the supposition that the work in question was a 
genuine production of Athenagoras, Theagenes and Cha- 
riclea may as probably have been derived from Cliaris and 
Theogenes, as these from the former appellations. The 
non-existence, however, of a Greek original of the romance 
Du Vrai et parfait Amour, necessarily throws the omis 
jyrohandi of its authenticity on its defenders ; and, until 


produced, a strong presumption remains, that Charis and 
Theogenes is nothing more than a partial change of 
Theagenes and Chariclea. 

The impostui-e, indeed, is clearly detected by the de- 
scription of manners and institutions unknown in the age 
of Athenagoras. Thus the author conducts a criminal 
trial in the heart of G-reece, according to the form of pro- 
cess before the parliament of Paris. The priests and 
virgins introduced in the romance, as consecrated to Ham- 
mon, live according to the fashion of the monks and nuns 
of the fifteenth century, and not like those who existed in 
the early ages of Christianity/ 

Huet has mentioned, as the principal defect of the 
romance, that it is loaded with descriptions of buildings, 
and that the palaces are not raised by the magic hand of 
fiction, but by a professional architect. From this blemish 
Huet has drawn his chief argument against the authen- 
ticity of the work. "It is universally known," says he, 
" that the Cardinal Armagnac was much addicted to the 
study of architecture: Philander, the commentator on 
Vitruvius, was one of his devoted retainers, was the most 
scientific architect of his age, and was, besides, well in- 
formed in every branch of polite literature. Now, since 
the description of this Athenagoras are closely squared to 
the principles of architectui'e inculcated by him in his 
annotations on Yitruvius, may it not reasonably be sus- 
pected, that Philander was the deviser of this literary im- 
posture, in order to support his own opinions by the autho- 
rity of antiquity ? The fraud might have been detected, 
had the work issued from the hands of Philander, or the 
palace of the cardinal. That he might remove suspicion 
from himself, and conduct the reader as it were to other 
ground, he wrote an amatory romance. There, as if inci- 
dentally, he inserted the precepts of his art, and, conceal- 
ing his own name, he ingeniously employed that of La- 
mane, for the possessor of the manuscript, and Fumee for 
the French translator. " However it may be," he con- 
tinues, " the romance is ingeniously contrived, artfully 
conducted, enlightened with unparalleled sentiments and 

^ Scholl, Hist, de la Lit. Gr., and Pauli, Real. Encj-l. s. v. Atlienngoras, 
reject the work as spurious. 


2>recepts of morality, and adorned with a profusion of 
delii^htful ima<jres, most skilfully disposed. The incidents 
are probable, the ej^isodes are deduced from the main sub- 
ject, the language is perspicuous, and modesty is scrupu- 
lously observed. Here there is nothing mean, nothing 
unnatural or affected, nothing that has the appearance of 
childishness or sophistry." Huet, however, comjjlains that 
the conclusion of the fable of this romance is far removed 
from the excellence of the introduction. 

I have now taken a successive view of the G-reek romances, 
and have attempted to furnish such an analysis of them as 
may enable the reader to form some notion of their nature 
and qualities. 

One equality, it is obvious, pervades them all, and it is 
the characteristic not only of Greek romance, but of the 
first attempt at prose fiction in every country : The interest 
of each work almost wholly consists in a succession of 
strange, and often improbable adventures. Indeed, as the 
primary object of the narrator was to surprise by the inci- 
dents he rehearsed, the strangeness of these was the chief 
object to which he directed his attention. For the creation 
of these marvels sufiicient scope was afforded him, because, 
as little intercourse took place in society, the limits of pro- 
bability were not precisely ascertained. The seclusion, 
also, of females in these early times gave a certain unifor- 
mity to existence, and j^i'evented the novelist from painting 
those minute and almost imperceptible traits of feeling and 
character, all those developments, which render a well- 
written modern novel so agreeable and interesting. Still, 
amid all their imperfections, the Greek romances are ex- 
tremely 2)leasing, since they may be considered as almost 
the first productions in which woman is in any degree re- 
presented as assuming her proper station of the friend and 
the companion of man. Hitherto she had been considered 
almost in the light of a slave, ready to bestow her affec- 
tions on whatever master might happen to obtain her ; but, 
in Heliodorus and his followers, we see her an affectionate 
guide and adviser — we behold an union of hearts painted 
as a main-spring of our conduct in life — we are delighted 
with pictures of fidelity, constancy, and chastity, and are 
encouraged to persevere in a life of virtue hy the happy 


consequences to which, it leads. The Grreek romances are 
less valuable than they might have been, from giving too 
much to adventure, and too little to manners and charac- 
ter ; — but these have not been altogether neglected, and 
several pleasing pictures are delineated of ancient customs 
and feelings. In short, these early fictions are such as 
might have been expected at the first effort, and must be 
considered as not merely valuable in themselves, but as 
highly estimable in pointing out the method of awaking 
the most pleasmg sympathies of our nature, and affecting 
most powerfully the fancy and the heart. ^ 

^ Phlegon of Tralles in Lj^dia, one of Hadrian's freedmen, may further 
be mentioned before dismissing the present subject. Under his name 
the Emperor, as is supposed, wTOte his own biography (Spartiani Vita 
Hadriani, c. 16). His work rrepl ■^avjAaaiu)}' (pi'inted in Jac. GronoA'ii 
Thes. Graec. Anth. viii. p. 2694) consists of a collection of marvellous 
tales and ghost stories, not altogether unlike those which ha^-e been so 
popular in the German literature of the present century. The first 
portion of the book is lost, and therewith the commencement of the 
story of Philinnion returned from the grave (borrowed by Phlegon from 
a letter of Hij^parchus, Philipp's Commandant of Amphipolis, to 
Arrhidaeus, see Kohde, p. 391), which Goethe adapted in his Bride of 
Corinth. The tale of Phlegon is undoubtedly connected with the tales 
current in south-eastern Eurojoe of vampyres, and dead who rise from 
their graves and suck the blood of the living, especially of their nearest 
relatives, and called in modern Greek Buthrolakkas, or Burkolassas 

Here, too, are found the stories of the Succubi {'finrov(jai), or female 
sprites (Alp.). See Dobeneck, Des Deutschen Mittelatus Volksglaube, 
i. 32, who cites a i:)re-Christian example of this kind of being from 

See, further, note on IMorgant le Geant, Chassang, p. 400, the tables 
of Lamide, Gorgons, Ephialta, Mormolyce, iManducus. 

Another fictionist unmentioned by Dunlop is Damascius, recorded by 
Photius (cod. 130), but without any biographical information about him. 
He was probably a Christian at a time when Christianity had become 
generally diffused. Photius gives only the titles of his books which are : — 
Of Incredible Stories, 352 chapters ; Tales of Demons, 52 chapters ; 
Wonderful Stories of Apparitions, 63 chapters, and of Incredible Natures, 
105 chapters. Photius pronounces them to have been full of extrava- 
gances, and of gloomy Pagan superstition, but composed in a clear and 
elegant style. — Lieb. 

A contemporary of Theodorus Prodromus, Constantine Manasses, 
composed the metrical romance of Aristander and Callithea in nine books. 
The onl}'^ extracts from this work which have come down show it to have 
contained the usual accumulation of adventures and vicissitudes found 
in the Greek romances. 


In goneral, remarks F. W. V. Schmidt (Wien. Jalirb. Bd. 26, p. 46), 
speaking of the later Gi'cok romances, and especially the works of 
Eustathius, Theodorus Prodromus, and Nicetas Euj^enianos, the perusal 
of these works, important as they are for the knowledge of philology 
and literature, leaves upon the reader the impression conveyed by seeing 
an old man in his dotage. 

The contac-t with the western nations effected by the Crusades with 
the ertete civilization of Byzantium, and French domination in the Morea, 
substituted Frankish romances for ancient models, or poor imitations 
thereof, and narrative literature received themes from both east and 
west, as the stories of the Fankyatranta and Sindibad had already been 
introduced into the popular Byzantine literature ; separate French com- 
positions were now translated, such as stories from the Kound Table, of 
la Belle ^laguelonne, Flores and Blanchefleur, etc. Many of these 
stories became in tliis way so popularized that they are still recognizable 
in the modern Greek folk tales. (See note to Apollonius, p. 83, and 
Nicolai-, Gesch. des Xeugriech, Literatur. p. 11.) An instance is the 
story of the good Florentia, or the history of the faithful wife vainly 
tempted by her brother-in-law during her husband's absence, then 
turned adrift, resisting the amorous proposals of divers men whom she 
meets, who subsetjuently come to be healed at a monastery whither she 
had retired, and where she had become celebrated for miraculous cures, 
and whom she heals from their ailments upon their confessing their 
guilt ; whereupon she is reconciled to her husband. For an account of 
the variants of this story of the good Florentia of Kome, see Graesse, 
Literargeschichte, iii. i. 286, 287. The same story is current with but 
little difference in Janina Hahn, Griech. Miirchen, N. 16 (1, p. 1 iO, etc.). 
The legend probably found its way in the popular mouth from some 
Greek version of a Frankish original. The ultimate source of the Saga 
(which is found in various forms, such as that of Genoveva, of Crescentia, 
see V. d. Hagen Gesammtabentener, vii. and i. 101 ; also (Esterley, on 
Kirchofs Wendunnuth, 2, 23; G. Kom. 249, p. 747, of Hildegard ; 
Grimm. Deutsche Sagen, N. 437) is to be found in the Indian cycle of 
the Papageienbuch in the oldest form of that collection which is accessible 
to us, Night 33, as well as in the Turkish Tooti Nameh : Rose, i. 
89-108. See Eohde, p. 5.33, etc., and Gidcl, Etudes. For further 
information on the periK'tuation of popular fiction among the Greeks, 
the following works may be consulted : Berington's •* Literary History 
of the Middle Ages," Api)endix I. Bikelas,Die Griechen des Mittelalters 
und ihre EinHues auf die Europiiische Cultur, Giittersloh, 1878. 
Nicolai, Geschichte der Neugriechischen Literatur, Leipzig, 1876. 
Gidel, Etudes — Xouvelles Etudes sur la Litterature gi-ecque moderne, 
1866, 1878. Schmidt, Bernhardt, Das Volksleben der Neugriechen und 
das Hellenische Alterthum, Leipzig, 1871, and the same author's 
Griechische Miirchen, etc., 1877. Hahn, Griechische und Albanesische 
Miirchen, 1864. Miss .J. E. Harrison's " Myths of the Odyssey in Art 
and Literature,"' London, 1882. Gerland, Altgriechische Miirchen in 
der Odyssee, Magdeburg, 18G9. (Jeldart, Folklore of Modern Greece, 
London, 1882. W. Wagner, Shakespeare in Griechenland, Leipzig, 
and chaps. 21, 28-30, of Kev. II. F. Tozer's " Kesearches in the Highlands 
of Turkey." 




THE Milesian Fables had found their way into Italy 
even before tliey flourished in Greece. They had been 
received with eagerness, and imitated by the Sybarites, the 
most voluptuous nation in the west of Europe ; whose 
stories obtained the same celebrity in Eome, that the 
Milesian tales had acquired in Greece and Asia. It is not 
easy to sjDCcify the exact nature of the western imitations, 
but if we may judge from a solitary specimen transmitted 
by ^lian in his Variae Historise (1. 14, c. 20), they were of 
a facetious descrijDtion, and intended to promote merriment. 
A pedagogue of the Sybarite nation conducted his pupil 
through the streets of a town. The boy hapj^ened to get 
hold of a fig, which he was proceeding to eat, when his 
tutor interrupted him by a long declamation against luxury, 
and then snatching the dainty from his hand, devoured it 
with the utmost greed. This tale ^lian says he had read 
in the Sybarite stories ('^opiaig avpapiTiKcug), and had been 
so much entertained that he got it by heart, and committed 
it to writing, as he did not grudge mankind a hearty laugh ! 
Many of the Romans, it would appear, were as easily 
amused as ^lian, since the Sybarite stories for a long 
while enjoyed great popularity ; and, at length, in the 
time of Sylla, the Milesian tales of Aristides were trans- 
lated into Latin by Sisenna, who was praetor of Sicily, and 
author of a history of Rome. Plutarch informs us in his 
life of Crassus [c. 32] , that when that general was defeated 
by the Parthians, the conquerors found copies of Milesian 
and Sybarite tales in the tents of the Roman soldiers ; 
whence Surena expressed his contempt for the effeminacy 
and licentiousness of his enemies, who, even in time of war, 
could not refrain from the perusal of such compositions. 


The taste for the Sybarite and Milesian fables increased 
during the reign of the emperors. Many imitators of 
Aristides appeared, particularly Clodius Albinus, the com- 
l>etitor of the Emj)eror Sever us, whose stories have not 
reached posterity, but are said to have obtained a celebrity 
to which their merit hardly entitled them.^ It is strange 
that Severus, in a letter to the senate, in which he upbraids 
its members for the honours they had heaped on his rival, 
and the support they had given to his pretensions, should, 
amid accusations that concerned him more nearly, have 
expressed his chief mortification to arise from their having 
distinguished that person as learned, who had grown hoary 
in the study of old wives' tales, such as the Milesian-Punic 
fables. — Major fuit dolor, quod ilium pro literato laudan- 
dum plerique duxistis, cum ille neniis Cjuibusdam anilibus 
occupatus, inter Milesias Punicas Apuleii suit, et ludicra 
literaria conseuesceret,' 

But the most celebrated fable of ancient Rome is the 
work of Petronius Arbiter, perhaps the most remarkable 
fiction which has dishonoured the literary history of any 
nation. It is the only fable of that period now extant,^ but 
is a strong proof of the monstrous corruption of the times 
in which such a production could be tolerated, though, no 
doubt, writings of bad moral tendency might be circulated 
before the invention of ])rinting, without arguing the de- 
pravity they would have evinced, if presented to the w^orlcl 
subsequent to that period. 

The work of Petronius is in the form of a satire, and, 
according to some commentators, is directed against the 
vices of the court of Nero, who is thought to be delineated 
under the names of Trimalchio and Agamemnon ; an opinion 

^ Milesias nonnuUi ejusdem esse dieunt, quarum fama non ignobilis 
haljetur, quamvis mediocriter scripUe sunt. — Capitohnus vit. Clod. 
Albini.. c. 11. 

- Ibid.c. 12. 

^ And extant only in a fragmentary form. Being employed for ex- 
cerpts in anthologies, the work itself was all the sooner lost, which it 
appears to have been as early as the seventh century. The MSS. known 
have on the whole the same gaps and corruptions, and must therefore 
be derived from, and the same original MSS., wliich contained only ex- 
cerpts from the complete works of Petronius. — Teuffel. His. Kom. Lit. 
ii. p. 88. 


which has been justly ridiculed by Voltaire [Ecrivains franc, 
du Siecle de Louis XIV. s. v. Nodot], The satire is written 
in a manner which was first introduced by Varro ; verses 
are intermixed with prose, and jests with serious remark. 
It has much the air of a romance, both in the incidents and 
their disposition ; but the story is too well known, and too 
scandalous, to be ]3ai'ticularly detailed. The scene is laid 
in Magna G-raecia ; Eucolpius [c. 91], is the chief character 
in the work, and the narrator of events ; — he commences by 
a lamentation on the decline of eloquence [c. 2], and while 
hstening to the reply of Agamemnon, a professor of oratory, 
he loses his companion Ascyltos. Wandering through the 
town in search of him [c. 6], he is finally conducted by an 
old woman to a retirement where the incidents that occur 
are analogous to the scene. The subsequent adventures — 
the feast of Trimalchio — the defection and return of G-iton 
— the amour of Eumolpus in Bythinia — the voyage in the 
vessel of Lycus — the passion and disappointment of Circe, 
follow each other without much art of arrangement ; an 
apparent defect which may arise from the mutilated form 
in which the satire has descended to us. 

The style of Petronius has been much applauded for its 
elegance — it certainly possesses considerable naivete and 
grace, and is by much too fine a veil for so defonned a, 
body.^ Some of the verses also are extremely beautiful. 
The best part of the prose, however, is the well-known 
episode of the matron of Ephesus [c. Ill, 112], which, I 
have little doubt, was originally a Milesian or Sybarite 
fable. A lady of Ej^hesus, on the death of her husband^ 
not contented with the usual demonstrations of grief, de- 
scended with the corpse into the vault in which it was en- 
tombed, resolving there to perish with sorrow. From this 
design no entreaties of her own or her husband's friends 
could dissuade her. But at length a common soldier, who 
had been apjDointed to watch the bodies of malefactors 
crucified in the vicinity, lest they should be taken down by 
their relations, perceiving a light, descended into the vault,. 

^ The council of Trent declined to put the work on the Index on 
account of its Latinity. For a very readable account of Petronius, who 
is now generally considered to have been a contemporary of Nero, see 
Sincox, Latin Literature, ii. 83. 



where lie i^azed on the beauty of the mourner, Avhoni lie 
soon jK^rsuaded to eat, to drink, and to live. That very 
night, in her funeral garments, in the eommencement of 
her grief, and in the toiiih of her husband, she was united 
to this new and unkno's\ni lover. When the soldier ascended 
from this bridal chamber, he found that the body of a 
criminal had been carried off. He returned to his mistress 
to deplore the punishment that awaited him for his neglect, 
but she immediately relieved his disquiet, by proposing 
that the corpse of the husband, whose funeral she had so 
vehemently mourned, should be raised, and nailed to the 
cross in room of the malefactor. 

A story nearly the same with that in Petronius exists, 
under title of the Widow who was Comforted, in the book 
known in this country by name of the Seven wise Masters,^ 
which is one of the oldest collections of oriental stories. 
There, however, the levity of the widow is aggravated by 
the circumstance that the husband had died in consequence 
of alarm at a danger to which his wife had been exposed, 
and that she consented to mutilate his body, in order to 
give it a perfect resemblance to that of the malefactor which 
had been taken down from the cross. 

This story of female levity has frequently been imitated, 
both in its classical and oriental circumstances." It is the 
Fabliau De la femme qui se fist putain siir la fosse de son 
mari. The Pcre du Halde, in his History of China, 
informs us that it is a common story in that emj^ire ; ^ but 
the most singular place for the introduction of such a tale 
was the Rule and Exercise of holy Dying, by Jeremy 

^ See Beufey Pancha. i. 460. 

2 In the Cento Novelle antiche, No. 56, Scrcambi, Nov. 16, Annibale 
Compeggi and Eustazio Manfredi ; in French by St. Evremond, OKuvres 
Meslees, i. 236, London, 1705 ; Tragicomedie de Pierre Brinon, Paris, 
1614; Hist. Theut. franc, iv. 188 ; La Fontaine, La Matrone d'Ephese ; 
Voltaire in Zadig, c. 2, Le Nez Coupe. It is also the subject of The 
"Widow's Tears, a comedy of the beginning of the seventeenth century, 
Dodsley's Collection, vol. vi. It also occurs in the De Nugis Curialium 
(1. viii. c. 11) of John of Salisbury. 

^ A wise man of Song, Chouang-tse by name, meets in a burial-place 
a young widow who is fanning her husl)and's grave with her fan. In 
reply toChouang-tse's in(iuiries, she explains in tears, and without desist- 
ing, as courtesy required, from her exercise, that she had promised her 
husband upon his death-bed not to enter wedlock anew until the mould 


Taylor, where it forms 23art of the 5th chapter, entitled, Of 
the Contingencies of Death and Treating our Dead. 

The Latin writers of fiction seem to have been uniformly 
more haj^py in their episodes than in the principal subject. 
This remark is particularly applicable to the 

Golden Ass 

of Apuleius, its readers, on account of its excellence, as is 
generally sui^j^osed, having added the epithet of Grolden. 
Warburton, however, conjectures, from the beginning of 
one of Pliny's epistles, that Aimce was the common title 
given to the Milesian, and such tales as strollers used to 
tell for a piece of money to the rabble in a circle : " Assem 
para et accipe auream fabulam" [1. ii. ep. 20]. These 
Milesian fables were much in vogue in the age of Apuleius. 
Accordingly, in the commencement of his work, he allures 
his readers with the promise of a fashionable composition,^ 

at one end of tlie grave-monnd was quite dry, a desiccation she devoutly 
wished and assiduously promoted by the unflagging employment of her 
fan. Upon Chouang's proffer of assistance she produced another fan 
and handed it to him. 

The sage, on returning home, relates his adventure to his wife Tien, 
who reviles the widow, and protests that she herself after such bereave- 
ment would never re-marry. Shortly afterwards Chouang dies, and his 
widow is at first inconsolable. However, a former pupil of Chouang's 
puts in an appearance, and desires at once to pay the last tribute of 
respect to the remains of his deceased master, and then to avail himself 
of his books to prosecute his studies. The widow receives him into her 
house, falls in love with him, and their marriage is forthwith celebrated, 
>vhile the body of Chouang is thrust into a wretched shed. When about 
to climb into the nuptial couch the bridegroom is seized with cramps, 
which his servant says can only be cured by a potion composed of wine 
mixed with human brain. The bride, providing herself with an axe, 
hastens to the place where the corpse of her late husband lay, hews open 
the coffin, and is about to proceed as summarily with the skull, when 
Chouang awakes from a long trance, and returns home with her. The 
hollowness of her previous jirotestations evinced by the festal signs 
visible in the house, Tien hangs herself for shame, Avhile her husband 
sets the dwelling and all within it, including her body, on fii-e, the 
scholar and his servant have, however, secured their safety by flight. 
Chouang thenceforward devoted himself to travel and philosophy — and 
celibacy. — The General History of China, iii. 2)p. 134- 155, London, 
1736. This story is also iii. and No. 3 of Contes Chinois traduits, pub- 
lished by Kemusat, Paris, 1827. 

^ At ego tibi sermone isto Milesio varias fabulas conseram, auresque 
tuas benevolas lepido susurro permulceam. 


thoiigli he early insinuates that lie has deeper intentions 
than their amusement. 

The fable is related in the person of the author, who 
commences his story with representing himself as a young 
man, sensible of the advantages of virtue, but immoderately 
addicted to pleasure, and curious of magic. He informs 
the reader, that on accoinit of some domestic affairs, he was 
obliged to travel into Thessaly, the country whence his 
family had its origin. At his entrance into one of the 
towns, called Hypata, he enquired for a j^erson of the name 
of Milo. and being directed to his house, rapped at the 
door. On what security do you intend to borrow ? said a 
servant, cautiously unbolting it ; we only lend on pledges 
of gold or silver. Being at last introduced to the master, 
Apuleius presented letters of recommendation from Demeas, 
a friend of the miser, and was in consequence asked to 
remain in the house. Milo having dismissed his wife, 
desired his guest to sit down on the couch in her place, 
apologizing for the want of seats of a more portable de- 
scription, on account of his fear of robbers. Apuleius 
having accepted the invitation to reside in the miser's 
house, went out to the public bath, and on the way reflect- 
ing on the parsimony of his host, he bought some fish for 
supper. On coming out from the market he met Pithias, 
who had been his school-fellow at Athens, but was at that 
time aedile of Hypata, and had the superintendence of pro- 
visions. This magistrate having examined the fish his 
friend had purchased, condemned them as bad, ordered 
them to be destroyed, and having merely reprimanded the 
vendor, left his old companion dismayed at the loss of his 
supper and money, and by no means satisfied with the mode 
of administering justice in Thessaly. 

After having visited the bath, Apuleius returned to sleep 
at Milo's [1. 1], and rose next morning with the design of 
seeing whatever was curious in the city. Thessaly was the 
country whence magic derived its origin ; and of the nature 
of this art he had heard and even witnessed something on 
his journey from Rome. Hence he imagined that every 
thing he saw was changed from its natural form, by the 
force of enchantment ; he expected to behold the statues 
walk, and to hear the oxen prophesy. While roaming 

I. H 


tlirough the town he met with a lady, called Byrrhena, 
who, having been a friend of his mother, invited him to 
lodge at her house. This he could not agree to, as he had 
already aceej^ted an aj^artment at Milo's, but he consented 
to accompany her home to supper. The great hall in this 
lady's palace is splendidly described, and an animated 
account is given of a statue of Victory, and a piece of 
sculpture representing Diana, surrounded by her dogs. 
Apuleius is warned by Byrrhena to beware of Pamphile, the 
wife of Milo, who was the most dangerous magician in 
Thessaly. She informs him that this hag sj^ares no chaims 
to fascinate a young man for whom she conceives a passion, 
and does not scruple to metamorphose those who oppose 
her inclinations. Apuleius returned home, hesitating 
whether to attach himself to Pamphile, in order to be in- 
structed in magic, or to her servant Fotis. The superior 
beauty of the latter speedily fixed his resolution, and he 
consoled himself for the many privations he endured in the 
house of Milo, by carrying on an intrigue with this damsel, 
who acted as the handmaid of Pamphile, and the valet of 
her parsimonious husband. 

One night, while supping at the house of Byrrhena, 
Apuleius was informed that the following day being the 
festival of Momus, he ought to honour that divinity by 
some merry invention. 

Eeturning home somewhat intoxicated, he perceived 
through the dusk three large figures attacking the door of 
Milo with much fury. Suspecting them to be robbers, who 
intended to break in, he ran his sword through them in 
succession, and, leaving them as dead, escaped into the 
house [1. 2]. Next morning he is arrested on account of 
the trijjle homicide, and is brought to trial in a crowded 
and oj)en court. The accuser is called by a herald. An 
old man, who acted in this capacity, pronounced a ha- 
rangue, of which the duration was limited by a clepsydra, 
as the old sermons were measured by hour-glasses. Two 
women in deep mourning were introduced ; one lamented 
the death of her husband, the other of her son, and both 
called loudly for vengeance on the murderer. Apuleius 
was found guilty of the death of three citizens ; but pre- 
vious to his execution it was resolved he should be put to 


the torture, to force a discovery of his accomplices, and the 
necessary preparations were accordingly completed. What 
had chiefly astonished Apiileius during this scene, was, 
that the whole court, and among others his host Milo, 
were all the while convulsed with laughter. One of the 
women in mourning now demanded that the dead bodies, 
which were in court, should be uncovered, in order that, 
the compassion of the judges being excited, the tortures 
might be increased. The demand was complied with, and 
the task assigned to Apuleius himself. The risibility of 
the audience is now accounted for, as he sees, to his utter 
astonishment, three immense leather bottles, which, on the 
preceding night, he had mistaken for robbers. The imagi- 
nary criminal is then dismissed, after being informed that 
this mock trial was in honour of the god Momus. 

On returning home the matter was more fully explained 
by Fotis, who informs Apuleius that she had been em- 
2:>loyed by her mistress to procure the hair of a young 
Boeotian, of whom she was enamoured, in order to prepare 
a charm which would bring him to her house : that having 
failed in ol^taiuing this ingredient, and fearing the resent- 
ment of her mistress, she had brought her some goat's hair 
which had fallen from the scissors of a bottle- shearer. 
Tliese hairs being burned by the sorceress, with the usual 
incantations, had (instead of leading the Boeotian to her 
house,) given animation to the skins to which they formerly 
adhered, and which being then in the form of bottles, 
appeared, in their desire of entrance, to assault the door of 
Milo. The above story of the bottles probably suggested 
to Cervantes the dreadful combat which took place at an 
inn between Don Quixote and the wine skins, which he 
hacked to pieces, suj^posing all the while that he was cleav- 
ing down giants (book iv. c. 4). 

Apuleius agreed to forgive Fotis the uneasiness she had 
occasioned, if she would promise to exhibit her mistress to 
him while engaged in one of her magical ojjerations. On 
the following night Fotis came to him in great agitation, 
and informed him that her mistress was about to assume 
the shape of a bird, to fly to some object of her affections. 
Looking through an opening in the door, he saw Pamphile 
take out several bottles, and rub herself with an ointment 


contained in one of them. Then having muttered certain 
words, her body is covered with feathers, her nails are 
lengthened into claws ; and forthwith, in shape of an owl, 
she flies out of her chamber. Apuleius next requested 
Fotis that she would favour him with some of the ointment, 
that he might follow her mistress in the same form, to his 
restoration from which he understood nothing farther was 
necessary than a draught of spring water, mixed with 
anise and laurel leaves. Fotis, however, gave him a diffe- 
rent ointment from that which she had intended, so that, 
instead of being changed into a bird, he assumed the figure 
of an Ass. In this shaj^e he retains his former feelings 
and understanding, but is told by Fotis that he cannot be 
restored to the human form but by eating rose leaves. 

The remainder of the story is occupied with the search of 
Apuleius after this valuable article, and the hardships he 
suffers under the degraded form to which he was reduced; 
a part of the work, which seems in its hteral significa- 
tion to have suggested the idea of such compositions as 
the Adventures of a Lap-dog, the Perambulations of a 
Mouse, &c. 

Apuleius in the first place descended to the stable, where 
he was very roughly treated by his own horse, and the ass 
of Milo. In a comer of his new habitation he perceived 
the shrine of Hippona, the goddess of stables, adorned with 
fresh-gathered roses ; but in attemj^ting to pluck them he 
was beat back with many blows by his own groom, who felt 
indignant at the meditated sacrilege. 

At this instant Milo' s dwelling was broken into by robbers, 
who, having pillaged the house, loaded the horse and the 
two asses which they found in the stable with the booty. 
Apuleius observed several rose bashes in a garden through 
which he passed on his way to the habitation of the ban- 
ditti; but restrained himself from partaking of their 
flowers, lest he should be murdered by his new masters on 
resuming the human figure [1. 3]. After a long journey, 
and when almost ready to sink under the weight of his 
burden, he arrived at the abode of the robbers. This 
residence is described in a manner extremely similar to the 
habitations of banditti, in all modern romances. We have 
the rugged mountain, impenetrable forest, inaccessible 


rocks, and even the solid and lofty tower, with the subter- 
raneous cavern. In this f rij^htf ul abode supper was served 
up by an old woman, who was the only domestic ; and 
during the repast another troop arrived bearing a rich 

At daybreak the band set out on a new expedition, and 
returned a few hours afterwards with a young lady as their 
prize, whom they consigned to the care of the old woman. 
She informed this hag that she had been carried off on the 
day of her nuptials with a young man, to whom she was 
much attached. The old woman, to alleviate her distress, 
entertained her with a story which she said was taken from 
the Milesian fables, and which is the celebrated tale of 
Cupid and Psyche [1. 4].' 

Apuleius was employed in different expeditions with the 
robbers ; he also made several attempts to escape from 
their power, which proved abortive [1. 6]. At length, one 
of their nimiber, who had been left in the town where 
Milo resided, returned to his band, and informed them 
that they were not not suspected of the robbery, which 
hed been laid to the charge of a person of the name of 
Apuleius, who had forged letters from a friend of Milo, 
and had disappeared after pillaging the house. He also 
introduced a stranger, who represented himself as the cele- 
l^rated robber Hemus, the terror of all Thessaly ; and who, 
of consequence, was gladly chosen the leader of the ban- 
ditti. Apuleius, by attending to the conversation which 
passed between this person and the young lady, discovered 
that the pretended outlaw was her husband, who had 
assumed a false character, in order to effect her escape. 
This he accomplished one evening by intoxicating his com- 
panions, when, having bound them with cords, and placed 
his bride on the back of Apuleius, he returned with her to 
the town in which she had formerly resided. 

There is a striking coincidence of the occurrences at the 
habitation of the rol)bers with some of the early incidents 
in Gil Bias. The gloomy habitation of the robbers — the 
manner in which it is secured — the revelry of the banditti 
— the old woman by whom they are attended — the arrival 

^ See infra, p. 107, etc. 


of a new troop during the entertainment — the captivity of 
the young lady and final escaj)e, are, I think, resemblances 
too strong to have been merely accidental. 

The new master of Aj)uleius, in gratitude for the service 
he had rendered, determined he should be sent to his 
mares in the country, to aid in the propagation of mules. 
Unfortunately the groom he was entrusted to had a wife, 
who totally marred the amorous expectations of Apuleius, 
by setting him to turn a mill. Nor was his situation 
improved when the groom, at length recollecting his orders, 
sent him on the service to which he was originally destined ; 
as he met with a most inhospitable reception from some 
horses who were his fellow suitors. 

After this mortification, Apuleius was employed to bring 
burdens of wood from the mountains, under the guidance 
of a boy, who treated him with the utmost cruelty, and 
spread such a report of his mischievous disposition, that 
he was at the point of being for ever disqualified for the 
multiplication of mules [1. 7]. Intelligence, however, op- 
portunely arrived that his master had been treacherously 
murdered by a former lover of his wife's, and that this 
lady, after taking a savage revenge on her perfidious 
admirer, had laid violent hands on herself. On receiving 
this intelligence, the groom pillaged his master's house in 
the country, loaded Apuleius with the booty, and fled with 
the rustics who were his accomplices. In the course of 
their journey through a wild and desolate country, they 
met with various adventures ; and at length arrived in a 
populous town, where the groom resolved to fix his resi- 
dence. Here Apuleius was purchased by an old eunuch, 
one of the priests of the Syrian goddess. While in his 
possession he was witness to the dreadful debaucheries of 
the ministers of that divinity ; and inadvertently braying 
with astonishment at their excesses, one of the neighbours, 
who had lost an ass, burst into the house, which rendered 
public the infamy of these wretches. 

In consequence of this exposure, the eunuchs were 
obliged to remove to another town, whither Apuleius, 
bearing the statue of the Syrian goddess, accompanied 
them. Here they lodged in the house of one of the inhabi- 
tants, who had a great veneration for that deity. A dog 


uufortunately ran off with a liauncli of venison, with which 
he had intended to entertain her votaries. The cook i>ro- 
posed to hantc himseli' in despair, but his wife persuaded 
him to leave that operation as his last resource, and mean- 
while to substitute an ass's leg in room of the one he had 
lost. Apuleius having understood that he w^as the intended 
victim [1. 8], rushed into the hall where the host was 
entertaining the priest, and overset the tables. A report 
having been circiUated that a mad dog had been seen in 
the stable, this act of Apuleius was ascribed to hydrophobia ; 
and he would have been sacrificed to this suspicion, if he 
had nor instantly drunk some water from a vase. 

The eunuchs soon after removed, and in travelling about 
with them, Apuleius heard the recital of the tale concern- 
ing the tub which forms the second story of the seventh 
day of the Decameron. Apuleius at length was sold at 
the market of one of the towns through which he passed, 
to a baker, who meets with the adventure related by 
Boccaccio in the tenth novel of the fifth day [1. 9]. He 
next fell into the possession of a gardener, from whom he 
was forcibly carried off by a Roman soldier, and sold to 
two brothers who lived together ; the one being the cook, 
and the other the pastry-cook, of a man of wealth and 
importance. When they went out they made it a rule 
to lock the door of the tent in which they baked and 
dressed victuals, and left only their ass in it. At their 
return they invariably found that the pastry and other 
provisions had disappeared. As the ass always left his 
corn and hay imconsumed, he became an object of sus- 
picion ; and being watched one day by the brothers, was 
detected at his dainty repast. The cooks were much enter- 
tained with the spectacle, and the account of this piece of 
epicurism having reached the ears of their master, Thyasus, 
Apuleius was purchased by him, and taught a variety of 
tricks by one of his freedmen. The possession of this 
singular animal threw much lustre on the proprietor, in 
the estimation of his fellow-citiaens, and he was in con- 
sequence appointed chief magistrate of Corinth for five 
consecutive years. 

Apuleius was also of great value to the freedman who 
had charge of him, as he was exhibited for money to the 


inhabitants. He received besides frequent visits from 
ladies, whicli, at their solicitation, he was privately sent to 

A splendid fete was now given by his master, in honour 
of his election to the magistracy. The judgment of Paris 
was represented, and Apuleius was destined to act a prin- 
cipal part in a species of afterpiece, which was by no means 
consonant to his feelings as a public exhibition. 

He fled, unperceived, to the fields, and having galloj^ed 
for three leagues, he came to a retired spot on the shore of 
the sea. The moon, which was in full splendour, and the 
awfid silence of the night, insj^ired him with sentiments of 
devotion. He purified himself in the manner prescribed 
by Pythagoras, and addressed a long prayer to the great 
goddess Isis. In the course of the night she appeared to 
him in a dream ; and, after giving a strange account of 
herself, announced to him the end of his misfortunes ; but 
demanded, in return, the consecration of his whole life to 
her service. When he awakens from this dream, he feels 
confirmed in the resolution of aspiring to a life of virtue. 
On this change of disposition, and conquest over his 
passions, the author finely represents all Nature as assum- 
ing a new face of cheerfulness and gaiety. " Tanta hilari- 
tudine, prseter peculiarem meam, gestire mihi cuncta vide- 
bantur, ut pecua etiam cujuscemodi, et totas domos, et 
ipsam diem serena facie gaudere sentirem " [1. 11]. 

While in this frame of mind, Apuleius jDcrceived an 
innumerable multitude advancing towards the shore, to 
celebrate the festival of Isis. Amid the crowd of priests 
he remarked the sovereign pontiff, with a crown of roses on 
his head ; and approached to pluck them. The pontiff, 
yielduig to a secret inspiration, held forth the garland. 
Apuleius resumed his former figure, and the j^romise of 
the goddess was fulfilled. He was then initiated into her 
rites, returned to Eome, and devoted himself to her 
service. This information, he remarks, will not surprise 
those who know that he is decurion of the temple of Osiris, 

^ See La Pucelle, chant, xx. note 4. " L'ane d' Apulee (says Vol- 
taire) ne parla point ; il ne put jamais prononcer que Oh et non : mais 
il eut une bonne fortune avec une dame, comme on pent le voir dans 
1' Apuleius en deux volumes in 4° cu?n 7iotis ad tcsiim Delphini" — Lieb. 


and who are not ii^norant that Isis and Osiris are one 
divinity [1. 11].' 

Apiileius was finally invited to a more mystic and 
solemn initiation, by the goddess herself, who rewarded 
him for his accumulated piety, by an abundance of temporal 

Such is the general outline of the subject of the G-olden 
Ass, which the contemporaries of the author, and critics 
of the succeeding age, regarded as a trivial fable, written 
with the sole intention of amusing the vulgar: " Quibus 
fabulis," says Macrobius, " Ajjuleium nonuunquam lusisse 
miramur." At an early, though subsec[uent period, a very 
different opinion was adopted. It was no longer ques- 
tioned that Apuleius had some profound intention ; but it 
was not agreed in what his aim consisted. St. Augustine 
[De Civ. Dei. xviii., 18,] pennitted himself to doubt whether 
the account given by Apuleius of his change into an ass, 
was not a true relation. " Aut iridicavit," says he, " aut 
finxit." The popular sentiment was, that the work was 
chiefly intended as a satire on the vices of the author's 
countiymen ; and that, in imitation of a great predecessor, 
he had been too anxious to particularize the maladies 
which he wished to remedy, Beroaldus, the learned com- 
mentator on Apuleius, imagines the transformation into 
an ass to signify that man becomes brutified when im- 
mersed in sensual pleasures ; but that when roses are 
tasted, by which science and wisdom are typified, he re- 
turns to religion and virtue ; — a change which is allego- 
rically painted by a restoration to the human form. 

In his "Divine Legation of Moses" [Book iv. § 4], 
Dr. Warburton has entered into much learned and inge- 
nious, though often far-fetched speculation, on this subject. 
He introduces this topic, (which, at first sight, seems to 
bear a veiy remote analogy to the mission of the Jewish 
legislator,) while attempting to demonstrate that all nations 

' The remark placed in the mouth of Apuleius by Dunlop probabl}' 
refers to the passage (Ed. Oudendorp,!. xi. p. 817) : — ''Osiris . . . nesacris 
suis gregi cetero permixtus deservirem, in collegium me Pastophorum 
suorum, immo inter ipsos Decurionum quiniiuennales elegit.'" And 
(ibid., p. 811) *' Connexa. immo vero unica ratio numinis religionis()ue." 

— LlEB. 


have inculcated the general doctrine of a Providence, and 
the belief in a future state of rewards and punishments, 
by some circumstantial and popular method, as the Insti- 
tution of Mysteries. The learned prelate contends that 
the author had conceived an inveterate dislike to the Chris- 
tian religion. He j^roves, from several passages in the 
Apology, another work of Apuleius, that his brother-in- 
law, by whom he was prosecuted on a charge of magic, 
was of this persuasion ; and in the Golden Ass, the vices 
of the baker's wife are summed up, by informing us that 
she was a Christian [1. 9] ; — hence his prepossession in 
favour of the pagan worship was increased, and he was 
induced to compose a work for the express pui-pose of 
extolling this superstition, and recommending an initiation 
into its mysteries, as a remedy for all vices whatever. On 
this system, the author of the Divine Legation proceeds 
to explain the prominent incidents of the romance. The 
ancients believed that a deliverance from a living death 
of brutality and vice, and a return to a new existence of 
virtue and happiness, which form the principal subject of 
the Golden Ass, might be effected by initiation into the 
mysteries. Byrrhena is the representation of virtue ; Apu- 
leius refuses her invitation, and gives way to his passion 
for pleasure and magic, till the crimes and follies into 
which they lead him, end in his transformation to a brute ; 
in which shape every change of condition makes his situa- 
tion more wretched and contemptible. The description of 
the enormities committed by the priests of Cybele is in- 
tended as a contrast to the pure rites of Isis. Roses, by 
which the restoration to the human form is effected, were, 
among the ancients, symbols of silence ; a requisite quality 
of the initiated, particularly among the Egyptians, who 
worshipped Harpocrates, the first-born of Isis : — hence the 
statues of Isis were crowned with chaplets of these flowers, 
and hence the phrase, " under the rose," has become in 
modern times proverbial. The solemn initiation, which is 
fully described, and the account of which concludes the 
work, agrees with what other writers have delivered 
concerning the mysteries. 

If the Golden Ass of Apuleius was written, as War- 
burton believes, in support of the pagan worship, it is 


perhaps strauge that its author shouhl have chosen, as a 
prototype, the Ass of Luciaii ; which, like many other 
works of that satirist, was inteuded to ridicule the hea- 
then mythology. Both compositions derived their origin 
from the writings of Lucius Patrensis,^ which are not now 
extant ; hut are supposed to have been an account of me- 
tamorphoses according to the popular theology. One of 
these transformations was, for the sake of ridicule, adopted 
by Lucian in his Ass ; which, though the leading incidents 
are the same, is a mere sketch or outline of the Golden 
Ass of the Roman. Thus Apuleius has added the story of 
the assassination of the bottles, and the mock trial which 
ensued. He has also given a serious and sacred air to the 
restoration to the human form, which Lucian accidentally 
effects by plucking some roses from a bystander, when 
condemned to an exhibition similar to that from which 
Apuleius escaped. The long description of the initiation 
into the mysteries, is substituted for the ludicrous inci- 
dent which terminates the adventures of Lucian ; who 
having, in his original shape, sought refuge with a lady in 
whose sight he often found favour as an ass, was turned out 
with disgrace on accoimt of the diminution of his charms. 
The Golden Ass is also enriched with numerous episodes, 
which are the invention of Apuleius, or at least are not to 
be found in the work of Lucian, Of these, the best known, 
and by far the most beautiful, is the story of 

Cupid and Psyche, 

which is related by the female servant of the banditti to 
the young lady whom the^ had taken captive [1. 4, 5, 6]. 

A certain king had three daughters, of whom the 
youngest and most lovely was named Psyche. Her charms 
indeed were so wonderful, that her father's subjects began 
to adore and pay her the homage which should have been 
reserv^ed for Venus. The exasperated goddess commands 
her son to avenge her on this rival, by inspiring Psyche 
with a passion for some unworthy object ; but while em- 
ployed in this design, Cupid himself becomes enamoured 

^ See .supra, p. IG. 


of the princess. Meanwhile, in obedience to the response 
of an oracle, Psyche is exposed on a barren rock, where 
she is destined to become the prey of a monster. From 
this hapless situation she is borne by the commissioned 
Zephyr, who wafts her to a green and delightful valley. 
Here she enjoys a refreshing sleep ; and on awakening 
perceives a grove, in the centre of which was a fountain, 
and near the fountain a splendid palace. The roof of this 
structure was supported by golden pillars, the walls were 
covered with silver, and every species of animal was repre- 
sented in exquisite statuary at the jDortal : Psyche enters 
this edifice, where a splendid feast is prepared ; she hears 
a voice inviting her to partake of this repast, but no one 
appears. After this sumptuous banquet is removed, she 
listens to a delightful concert, which proceeds from unseen 
musicians. In this enchanting residence she is espoused 
and visited every night by Cupid. Her husband, who was 
ever invisible, forbids her to attempt to see him ; adding, 
that her happiness depended on obedience to the prohi- 
bition. In these circumstances Cupid, at her earnest soli- 
citation, reluctantly agrees to bring her sisters to the 
palace. These relatives, being envious of the happiness of 
their younger sister, try to persuade her that her husband 
is a serpent, by whom she would be ultimately devoured. 
Psyche, though by this time she should have been sufii- 
ciently qualified to judge how far this suspicion was well 
founded, resolves to satisfy herself of the truth by oracular 
demonstration. Bearing a lamp in one hand, and a dagger 
in the other to destroy him should he prove a monster, she 
approaches the couch of her husband while he is asleep. 
In the agitation produced by the view of his angelic form, 
she allows a drop of scalding oil to fall on liis shoulder. 
The irritated god flies from her presence, aud leaves her a 
prey to remorse and despair. The enchanted garden and 
the gorgeous palace vanish along with him. Psyche finds 
herself alone and solitary on the banks of a river. Under 
the protection of Pan she wanders through the country, 
and successively arrives at the kingdom of her sisters, by 
each of whom she is rei^ulsed. The victim equally of the 
rage of Venus and of her son, she roams through all regions 
of the earth in search of the celestial lover whose favour 


she had forfeited. She is also subjected to various trials 
bv Venus, one of which is to bring water from a fountain 
guarded by ever-watchful dragons. Jupiter, at length, 
takes pity on her misfortunes, endows her with immor- 
tality, and confirms her union with her forgiving husband. 
On this occasion the Hours empurple the sky with roses ; 
the Graces shed aromatic odours through the celestial 
halls ; Apollo accompanies the lyre with his voice ; the 
god of Arcadia touches his sylvan reeds ; and the Muses 
join in the chorus. 

This allegory is supposed by some writers to be founded 
on an obscure tradition of the fall of man, and to form an 
emblem of his temptation, transgression, repentance, and 
subsequent reception into the favour of the godhead. Its 
meaning, however, is probably more restricted, and only 
comprehends the progress of the soul to perfection, the 
possession of divine love, and reward of immortality. From 
the earliest times the influence of religious sentiments has 
been typified by the hopes and fears of an amatory attach- 
ment. This style of composition was adopted by the 
rhapsodists of Hindostan and Persia, and bewitched the 
luxuriant imagination of the wisest of mankind.^ Bryant, 
in his Analysis of Ancient Mythology (vol. ii. 388), in- 
forms us that one of the emblems among the Egyptians 
was Psyche (^i/y//,) who, though represented as a beauti- 
ful female, was originally no other than the Aurelia, or 
buttei-fly, an insect which remains in a state of torpor dur- 
ing winter, but at the return of spring comes forth vdth 
new life, and in beautiful attire. This was deemed a pic- 
ture of the soul of man, and of the immortality to which 
he aspired ; and more particularly of Osiris, who, after 
being confined in a cofiin, enjoyed a renewal of life. This 
second birth is described under the character of Psyche, 
and as it was the fruit of divine love, of which Eros was 

^ See Benfey Pantschatantra, i. 255. Schopenhauer was led to the 
same conchision upon internal evidence (Parerga, ii. 444). Niehbuhr 
(Kleine Schriften, 2te Samml., p. 263) seems to consider Italy as the 
original home of the fable. Dr. Zinzow (Rohde ueber Lucian, p. 18) 
sees a radically Greek impress in the legend, and considers it is, at least 
in the form it is found in in Apuleius. as genuinely Milesian. There is 
said to be a distinct parallel to the Story of Eros and Psyche in the folk 
tales of Zululand. See also, infra, note to Perrault. 


the emblem, we find him often introduced as a concomitant 
of Psyche\ 

Whatever may be the concealed meaning of the allegory, 
the story of Cupid and Psyche is certainly a beautiful fic- 
tion. Of this, the number of translations and imitations 
may be considered as a proof. Mr. Rose, in the notes to 
his version of Partenoj^ex de Blois, has pointed out its 
striking resemblance to that romance, as also to the Three 
Calendars, and to one of the Persian Tales.' The prohibi- 

^ The archaeological as well as the symbolical aspect of the legend 
will be found treated at length in Dr. A. Zinzow's " Psyche und Eros," 
Ein Milesisches Marchen, etc., Halle, 1881. The fable has been ex- 
plained in many ways ever since the interpretation of Eulgentius 
(sect, vi.), which is the earliest that has come down to us. 

^ The parallelism which has been pointed out by Grimm and others 
between the classic Romance and the tale of the Woodcutter's Daughter 
appended to the collection of Indian stories, called Somadeva Biiatta 
(German translation by H. Brockhaus, Leipzig, 1843, Th. ii. p. 190), 
cannot be overlooked. See also Hildebrand's edition of Apuleius, 
-p. xxvii. , etc. 

The story of the woodcuttei-'s daughter is here given for the English 
reader : — 

In an Eastern realm lived a poor woodcutter, Nur Singh, with his 
wife and his daughter Tulisa. When the beautiful Tulisa was grown up 
she went one day into the wood, and as she approached a ruined fountain, 
a voice called her by name, and asked thrice if she would be his wife. 
She sought her father, who consented, in view of the wealth which was 
promised to him. As the nuptial day drew nigh precious bridal gifts 
were borne into the hut by unseen hands. The bride, beautifully 
arrayed, came with her parents to the fountain. First, the father had 
to place upon Tulisa's tinger a ring, which came floating through the 
ah'. Then a splendid repast was made in tent hard by ; and at last 
appeared a litter, which the bride entered with fear and hesitation. 
Unseen carriers bore her away. The parents followed, and arrived at 
a valley where stood a great palace, through whose doors the litter dis- 
appeared ; so they turned back home, with their minds at ease. 

The woodcutter became rich, but was calumniated by his envious 
neighbours, thrown into prison, and condemned by the king to death. 
On the morrow, when the sentence was to be enforce(l, all the inhabi- 
tants were slain by serpents. The woodcutter and the king alone in 
the city remained alive. Upon the prayer of the king, the wood- 
cutter summoned his invisible son-in-law ; and the serpents were com- 
manded to revive the slain by the means known alone to them (in 
Spring time). 

Meanwhile Tulisa lived very happily with her spouse, whom she (like 
Psyche) saw only at night ; she was not at liberty to quit the palace, 
where, however, all delights were provided for her. Once she rescued a 


tiou of Cupid, aiul tlie transgression of Psyche, has sug- 
gested the Serpent in Vert of Mad. d'Auhioy ; indeed the 
labours to which Psyche is subjected seem to he the origin 

squirrel which she saw pursued by a hirger animal, anrl the squirrel 
became her friend. Nevertheless she languished for intercourse with 
mortals. Une day slie l)eheld from her window an old woman, who im- 
plored her to be allowed to enter. She was moved by her enti'eaties, 
and let down a sheet from the window, by means of which the old 
•woman mounted. The old woman counselled her to beg her husband to 
eat out of the same dish with her. In the evening TuTisa did so. Her 
spouse consented, but eat nothing. Some time afterwards another old 
woman came in the same way to her, who counselled her to ask her hus- 
band to give her as a sign of his love a betel leaf to chew, and hand her 
food. But again he evaded her. A third old woman advised her to ask 
her husband his nanjie. He conjured her to refrain from doing this, as 
it would bring ruin upon her ; but she persisted. At last he brought 
her to a river brink, and, as she still persisted in her question, he went 
slowly, ever repeating his request, into the water, until only his head 
and shoulders were visible. And as she still persevered, he cried out, 
•• My name is Basnak Dow I " Then a serpent's head rose from the 
water, and he sank in the stream ; and we see the nether god of Light 
thus sinks beneath the Hood, separated from her by the earth goddess. 

Tulisa now stood again (in her earthly nature) in her torn garments; 
her palace had disappeared, and she found her parents, too, in their old 
poverty. Their complaints and reproaches pained her in the poverty to 
which she had grown unaccustomed, and still more she herself yearned 
for the bliss she had lost. Once she fell asleep in the forest, whither 
she had returned as of yore to collect wood, and there, as she awoke, she 
heard two squirrels conversing. From them she learned that the wicked 
mother of her husband had regained all her power, in consequence of the 
moi-tal spouse of her son having been persuaded by her confederate 
Sarkasoukis, disguised as an old woman, to ask after his name ; that he 
had now, according to his netherworld nature, become King of Snakes; 
and there w as but one means to give back to Basnak Dow his former 
power, viz., for Tulisa (as Goddess of Moonlight) to go eastwards, until 
she reached a broad stream teeming with snakes. This she must swim 
across, and seek on the opposite bank the nest of the bird Huma, and 
place its egg in her breast until it should be hatched. Then she must 
go to the palace of her wicked mother-in-law, the goddess of the under 
world, and oWec her services. If she is unable to perform the task 
exacted of her, she will be devoured by sei-pents, and remain with her 
husband in the under world, according to her earthly nature. 

Tulisa set out on her (Moon) wandering as she reached the Snake 
River (Milky Way), which she crossed unharmed on a raft, which she 
constructed of reecls and pitchers, and encouraged by two squirrels. 
Bees and squirrels conducted her to the Huma's nest, whose egg she 
disposed of as directed. At last she reaches the palace of the queen, 
whom she finds lying upon cushions, with the green snake round her 
neck. Tulisa's first (Spring) task, to collect in a crystal vase the 


of all fairy tales, particularly Gracieuse et Percinet.^ The 
whole story has also been beautifully versified by Marino 
in his poem L'Adone. Cupid is introduced in the fourth 
book relating it for the amusement of Adonis, and he tells 
it in such a manner as to form the most pleasing episode 
of that delightful poem. I need not mention the well- 
known imitation by Fontaine, nor the drama of Psyche, 
which was performed with the utmost magnificence at 
Paris in 1670, and is usually published in the works of 
Moliere, but was in fact the effort of the united genius of 
that author, Corneille, Quinault, and Lulli. 

Nor have the fine arts less contributed to the embellish- 
ment of this fable : the marriage of Cupid and Psyche has 
furnished Raphael with a series of paintings, which are 
among the finest of his works, and which adorn the walls 
of the Farnese Palace in the vicinity of Rome. In one 
compartment he has represented the council of the gods 
deliberating on the nuptials — in another the festival of the 
reconciliation. The frieze and casements are painted with 
the sufferings of Psyche, and the triumphs of Cupid over 
each individual god. 

The monuments, too, of ancient sculj^ture rej^resented 
Cupid and Psyche in the various circumstances of their 
adventures.^ It is from an ancient intaglio, a fine onyx in 

fragrance of a thousand blossoms, which grew in a garden en- 
closed with high walls. Unnumbered bees brought each their little bag 
of scent, and the vase was soon tilled. Next day a large vessel of seed 
was given her, from which she was to make a set of jewels. Squirrels 
came trooping to her, put gems in the vessel, and took a similar number 
of seeds out, so that every seed on the earth was changed to a gem. 
This second task fulfilled, Tulisa learns from her friends the squirrels 
that Sarkasukis can only be prevented from entering the castle by burn- 
ing certain herbs. Tulisa fumigates incessantly, until the young Huma, 
the Spring-bird-god, is hatched. He grew with incredible rapidity ; 
flew to the queen's shoulder ; pecked out the eyes of the green (Winter) 
serpent. The queen shrieked; Sarkasukis fell to earth as a hideous 
devil. Long processions of genii, of (new born) squirrels, and (moulted 
snakes) bore their ruler, Basnak Dow (the new-born Spring-god of Light 
and the Earth), up from the deep (,to his recovered throne). And Tulisa 
is reunited with him as queen of a spiritual world (in heaven and on 
earth), and her parents received their lost wealth again. See supp. note. 

^ See Cinderella, La Belle au Bois, Ranking, Streams, Lond. 1872. 

2 In this connection should be mentioned the Eros in the British 
Museum, which has been ascribed to Praxiteles, and the Psyche in the 


possession of the Duke of Marlborough, and from another, 
of which there is a print in Spence's " Polymetis," that 
Darwin lias drawn his beautiful picture in the fourth canto 
of the Botanic Garden : — 

So pure, so soft, with sweet attraction shone 
Fair Psyche kneeling at the ethereal throne, 
Won with coy smile the admiring court of Jove, 
And warmed the bosom of unconciuered Love. 
Beneath a moving shade of fruits and Howers, 
(.)nward they march to Hymen's sacred bowers; 
With lifted torch he lights the festive train 
Sublime, and leads them in his golden chain ; 
Joins the fond pair, indulgent to their vows. 
And hides with mystic veil their blushing brows. 
Round their fair forms their mingling arms they fling, 
Meet with warm lip, and clasp with rustling wing. 

Museum at Naples, a fine example of Grieco-Roman art. Both works 
are unfortunately mutilated. 

The first rendering of Apuleius into English was not until the year 
1566, but the book must have taken a very speedy hold upon the pubhc 
fancy. For shortly after 1579 we find Stephen Gosson, a precursor of 
Prynne and Jeremy Collier, stigmatizing the Golden Asse amongst the 
books which he mentions as having •' been thoroughly ransackt to fur- 
nish the Playhouses."' There seems no evidence, however, for this 
sweeping statement of any greater foundation than the fact, for which 
he vouches, of a play on the subject of Cupid and Psyche having been 
'■ played at Paules,'' and probably no other portion of the book was 

The quarto first edition of 1566. translated by William Adlington, was 
reprinted in 1571, 1596. 1600, and 1639. An octavo edition, now very 
rare, was published in 15S2. A translation by J. Lockman was pub- 
lished in 1744, another by Thomas Taylor in 1822, and another by Sir 
G. Head in 1851. An English edition of the works of Apuleius was 
published in 1853 by Mr. Bohn. Of the poetical treatment of the Myth 
in England, the first instance (apart from that lost play cited above) 
would seem to be Cupid's Courtship ; or, the Celebration of a Marriage 
between the God of Love and Psiche. mentioned by Hazlitt. This was 
followed in 1637 by S. Marmion's "A Morall Poem, intituled the 
Legend of Cupid and Psyche, etc.,"' and in 1799 by a now forgotten 
poem by Mr. Hudson Gurney. Mrs. Tighe, in the year 1805. produced 
a poem on the same subject, which went through twi> later editions. 
This, as well as Mr. Gurney's poem, are affixed to Mr. Bohn's edition, 
already mentioned. But it was reserved for our own times to give the 
worthy rendering of the story in the poem of Cupid and Psyche, with 
which Mr. William Morris opens the second volume of his Earthly 
Paradise. See B. M. Uanking, Streams from Hidden Sources. Lend., 
1872. See supp. note at end of vol. 







FABULOUS narrative, we have seen in a former part of 
this work, hke almost every one of the arts of man, 
originated in the desire of perfecting and improving nature, 
of rendering the great more vast, the rich more splendid, 
and the gav more beautiful. It removed, as it were, from 
the hands of fortune the destinies of mankind, rewarded 
virtue and valour with success, and covered treachery and 
baseness with oj^probrium. 

It was soon perceived that men sympathize not with 
armies or nations, but with individuals ; and the poet who 
sung the fall of empires, was forced to place a few in a 
prominent hght, with whose success or misfortunes his 
hearers might be affected, while they were altogether in- 
different to the rout or dissection of the crowds by which 
they were followed. At length, it was thought, that nar- 
ratives might be composed where the interest should only 
be demanded for one or two individuals, whose adventures, 
happiness, or misery, might of themselves afford delight. 
The experiment was attended with success ; and as men 
sympathize most readily with events which may occur to 
themselves, or the situations in which they have been, or 
may be, the incidents of fiction derived their character 
from the manners of the age. In a gay and luxurious 
country stories of love became acceptable. Hence the 
Grecian novels were composed, and as, in relating the ad- 


veutures of the lovers, it was iiatural to depict what might 
really have taken place, the general features of the times, 
the inroads of jnrates, religious ceremonies, etc. were chiefly 
delineated. The ascetic habits of the monks in like manner 
gave rise to spiritual romance, and the notion of tran- 
quillity in the fields of Greece may have suggested the 
beautiful rural images portrayed in the pastoral of 

Now, when, by some great convulsion, a vast change is 
effected in manners, the incidents of fiction will necessarily 
be changed also ; first, because the former occurrences 
become less natural, and, secondly, give less delight. From 
the very nature then of domestic fiction, it must vary with 
the forms and habits and customs of society, which it must 
picture as they occur successively, 

*' And catch the manners living as they rise." 

Never, in the annals of the human race, did a greater 
change of manners take place than in the middle ages, and 
accordingly, we must be prepared to expect a prodigious 
alteration in the character of fictitious literature, which, 
we have seen, may be expected to vary with the manners it 
would describe. But not only was there a change in the 
nature of the characters themselves, and the adventures 
which occurred to them, but a very peculiar style of embel- 
lishment was adopted, which, as it does not seem to have 
any necessary connection with the characters or adventures 
it was employed to adorn, has given the historians of 
literature no little labour to explain. The species of ma- 
chinery, such as giants, dragons, and enchanted castles, 
which forms the seasoning of the adventures of chivalry, 
has been distinguished by the name of Romantic Fiction ; 
and we shall now proceed to discuss the various systems 
which have been formed to account for its origin. 

Different theories have been suggested for the purpose 
of explaining the origin of Romantic Fiction in Europe. 
The subject is curious, but is involved in much darkness 
and uncertainty. 

To the northern Scalds, to the Aral»ians, to the people 
of Armorica or Britany, and to the classical tales of anti- 
quity, has been successively ascribed the origin of those 


extraordinary fables, which have been " so wildly dis- 
figured in the romances of chivalry, and so elegantly 
adorned by the Italian Muse." 

In the investigation of this subject, a considerable con- 
fusion seems to have arisen, from the supporters of the 
respective systems having blended those elements of ro- 
mance which ought to be referred to separate origins. 
They have mixed together, or at least they have made no 
proper distinction between, three things, which seem, in 
their elementary principles at least, to be totally uncon- 
nected. 1. The arbitrary fictions of romance, by which I 
mean the embellishments of dragons, enchanters, etc. 2. 
That spirit of enterprise and adventure which pervaded all 
the tales of chivalry. 3. The historical materials, if they 
deserve that name, relating to Arthur and Charlemagne, 
which form the ground-work of so large a proportion of 
this class of compositions. 

In treating this subject it will therefore be proper to 
consider, 1. The origin of those wild and improbable fic- 
tions, those supernatural ornaments, which form the ma- 
chinery of Romance, and which alone should be termed 
Eomantic Fiction. 2. The rise of that spirit of chivalry 
which gave birth to the eagerness for single combat, the 
fondness for roaming in search of adventures, and the 
obligation of protecting and avenging the fair ; and, lastly, 
we shall consider how these fabulous embellishments, and 
this spirit of adventure, were appropriated to the story of 
individual knights, and treat of those materials concerning 
Arthur and the Round Table, and the Peers of Charle- 
magne, whose exploits, real or fictitious, have formed the 
subject of romance. 

I. One theory (which, I believe, was first adopted by M. 
Mallet ^) is, that what are termed the arbitrary fictions of 
romance, have been exclusively derived from the northern 
Scalds. This system has been strenuously maintained by 
subsequent writers, and particularly by Dr. Percy,^ who 
observes, that the Scalds originally performed the functions, 
of historians, by recording the victories and genealogies of 
their princes in a kind of narrative song. When history^ 

' Introduction a I'Histoire de Dannemarc. 
^ Eeliques of Ant. Eng. Poetry, vol. iii. p. 3. 


by being committed to prose, assumed a more stable and 
more simple form, and was taken out of their hands, it 
became their business chiefly to entertain and delight. 
Hence they embellished their recitals with marvellous fic- 
tions, calculated to allure the gross and ignorant minds of 
their audience. Long before the time of the crusades, they 
believed in the existence of giants and dwarfs, in spells 
and enchantments. These became the ornaments of their 
works of imagination, and they also invented combats with 
dragons and monsters, and related stories of the adven- 
tures of knights with giants and sorcerers. 

Besides this assumption, Dr. Percy also maintains, that 
the spirit of chivalry, the eagerness after adventure, and 
the extravagant courtesy, which are its chief characteristics, 
existed among the northern nations long before the intro- 
duction of the feudal system, or the establishment of 
kuighthood as a regular order. 

These fictions and ideas, he asserts, were introduced into 
Normandy by the Scalds, who probably attended the army 
of Rollo in its migration to that province from the north. 
The skill of these bards was transmitted to their successors 
the minstrels, who adopted the reHgion and opinions of 
the new countries. In place of their pagan ancestors they 
substituted the heroes of Christendom, whose feats they 
embellished with the Scaldic fictions of giants and en- 
chanters. Such stories were speedily propagated through 
France, and by an easy transition passed into England 
after the Norman Conquest. 

A second hypothesis, which was first suggested by Sal- 
niasius,^ and which has been followed out by Mr. T. 
"Warton,^ ascribes to the Saracens the foundation of romantic 
fiction. It had at one time been a received opinion in 
Euroj^e, that the wonders of Arabian imagination were 
first communicated to the western world by means of the 
crusades ; l)ut Mr. Wart on, while he argues that these 
expeditions tended greatly to propagate this mode of 
fabling, contends that these fictions were introduced at a 
much earlier peri«;)d by the Arabians, who, in the begin- 
ning of the eighth century, settled in Spain. Through 

' See Huet, de lOrig. d. Rom., p. 131. 

^ Hist, of Eng. Poetry, vol. i. pp. 91. etc. ed. 1871. 


that country tliey disseminated those extravagant inven- 
tions peculiar to their fertile genius. Those creations of 
fancy, the natural offspring of a warm and luxuriant 
climate, were eagerly received, and colder imagmations 
were kindled by the presence of these enlivening visitors. 
The ideal tales of the eastern invaders, recommended by 
a brilliancy of description hitherto unknown to the barren 
fancy of those who inhabited a western region, were rapidly 
diffused through the continent of Europe. From Spain, 
by the communication of commercial intercourse through 
the ports of Toulon and Marseilles, they passed into 
France. In the latter kingdom they received the earliest 
and most welcome reception in the district of Armorica or 
Britany, That province had been largely peopled by a 
colony of Welsh, who had emigrated thither in the fourth 
century.^ Hence a close connection subsisted between 
Wales and Britany for many ages. The fables current in 
the latter country were collected by W. Map, Archdeacon 
of Oxford, who presented them to Geoffrey of Monmouth. 
His Latin Chronicle, compiled from these materials, forms 
one of the principal sources of tales of chivalry, and 
consists entirely of Arabian inventions. 

Mr. Warton [p. 103, etc.] next proceeds to point out the 
coincidence between fictions iindoubtedly Arabic, and the 
machinery of the early romances. He concludes with 
maintaining, that if Europe was in any way indebted to 
the Scalds for the extravagant stories of giants and 
monsters, these fables must still be referred to an eastern 
origin, and must have found their way into the north of 
Europe along with an Asiatic nation, who, soon after 
Mithridates had been overthrown by Pompey, fled from 
the dominion of the Eomans, and under the conduct of 
Odin settled in Scandinavia. 

These two systems, which may be termed the Gotliic and 
the Arabian, are those which have found the most nume- 
rous supporters. As far as relates to the supernatural 

^ The Chronicle of Mont St. Michael Abbey gives 513 as the period 
of this flight. "Anno 513, venerunt transmarini Britanni in Armori- 
cam, id est Minorem Britanniam." The ancient Saxon poet (apud 
Duchesne, Hist. Franc. Script, ii. p. 148) also peoples Bretagne after 
the Saxon conquest. — Turner. 


umameuts of ruiuaiioe (for it is this branch aloue that is 
at present to be considered,) the two theories, though very 
diii'erent, are by no means incompatible. From a view of 
the character of Arabian and Gothic fiction, it appears 
that neither is exchisively entitled to the credit of having 
given birth to the wonders of romance. The early framers 
of the tales of chivalry may be indebted to the northern 
bards for those wild and terrible images congenial to a 
frozen region, and owe to Arabian invention that magni- 
ficence and splendour, those glowing descrijjtions and luxu- 
riant ornaments, suggested by the enchanting scenery of 
an eastern climate. 

And wonders wild of Arabesque combine 
With Gothic imagery of darker shade. 

Wart on' s hypothesis of the flight of Odin from the 
Roman power to Scandinavia, and which exclusively assigns 
to the eastern nations all the fictions of romance, seems to 
rest on no solid foimdation. Indeed Eichardson, in the 
Preface to his Persian Dictionary, maintains that the whole 
was a mere Scaldic fable, invented to trace the origin of 
Gothic and Roman enmity, as the story of Dido and ^Eneas 
was supposed to account for the irreconcileable antipathy 
of Rome and Carthage.' Besides, no modification of climate 
and manners, strong as their influence may be, could have 
produced the prodigious difference that now appears be- 
tween Oriental and G-othic or Northern fictions ; for it can- 
not be denied, and indeed has been acknowledged by Mr. 
Warton,- that the fictions of the Arabians and Scalds are 
totally different. The fables and superstitions of the 
northern bards are of a darker shade, and more savage 
complexion, than those of the Arabians. There is some- 
thing in their fictions that chills the imagination. The 
formidable objects of nature with which they were fami- 
liarized in their northern solitudes, their precipices, and 
frozen moimtains, and gloomy forests, acted on their fancy, 
and gave a tincture of horror to their imagery. Spirits, 
who send stonns over the deep, who rejoice in the shriek 
of the drowning mariner, or diffuse irresistible pestilence ; 

' Cf. Herodotus. Bk. i. c. 1-6. where a similar account is given of the 
origin of the enmity of the Greeks and Persians.— Lieb. 
- Warton, Hist. Eng. Poet., pp. 115, etc. cd. 1871. 


spells which preserve from poison, blunt the weapons of 
an enemy, or call up the dead from their tombs — these are 
the ornaments of northern poetry. The Arabian fictions 
are of a more sj^lendid nature ; thev are less terrible in- 
deed, but possess more yarietj and magnificence ; they lead 
us through delightful forests, and raise up palaces glittering 
with gold and diamonds.^ 

But while it seems impossible to trace the wilder fictions 
of the north to an eastern source, it mar be observed, on 
the other hand, that, allowing the early Scaldic odes to be 
genuine, we find in them no dragons, giants, magic rings, 
or enchanted castles." These are only to be met with in 
the compositions of the bards, who flourished after the 
native vein of Eunic fabling had been enriched by the 
tales of the Arabians. But if we look in vain to the early 
Grothic poetry for many of those fables which adorn the 
works of romancers, we shall easily find them in the ample 
field of oriental fiction. Thus the Asiatic romances and 
chemical works of the Arabians are full of enchantments, 
similar to those described in the Spanish, and even in the 
French, tales of chivalry. Magical rings were an important 
part of the eastern j^hilosophy, and seem to have given 
rise to those which are of so much service to the Italian 
poets. In the eastern Peris we may trace the origin of the 
Euroj)ean fairies in their qualities, and perhaps in their 
name. The grifiin, or hij^pogriff, of the Italian -vvi'iters, 
seems to be the famous Simurgh of the Persians, which 
makes such a figure in the epic poems of Saadi and Ferdusi.^ 

^ Warton's " Hist, of Eng. Poetry." 

^ There is scarcely need to tell the reader of to-da}^ that Dunlop's 
supposition that there are no dragons, giants, etc., in Teutonic mytho- 
logy is erroneous. As ^vilI be evident upon perusal of the author's text, 
he envisages hissubject entirely from its romance aspect, seldom troubling 
about Germanic fiction, and, indeed, apparently unacquainted with it. 
(See Aj^pendix on German Fiction.) With reference to the difference 
between Eastern and Western Fiction, see Grimm, Teutonic Mytho- 
logy, pp. 978, 980, 998, etc. Lond., 1883. 

^ " The bird Simurg has its marvellous nest upon INIount Alburs, upon 
a peak that touches the sky, and which no man has ever yet seen. The 
child Sal is exposed upon this mountain ; the Simurg hears his cry, 
pities him, and carries him to its solitary peak. When the boy grows 
up, and departs, the bird gives him one of its feathers which he is to burn, 
when in danger, and the Simurg will come to his assistance, and take 


A great number of these romantic wonders were collected 
in the east l)y the numl)erless pilgrims and palmers who 
visited the Holy Land through curiosity, restlessness, or 
devotion, and who, returning from so great a distance, 
imposed every fiction on a believing audience. They were 
subsequently introduced into Europe by the fablers of 
France who took up arms, and followed their barons to 
the conquest of Jerusalem. At their retui*n they imported 
into Europe the wonders they had heard, and enriched 
romance with an infinite variety of oriental fictions. 

This mode of introduction of the eastern fables into 
Europe is much more natural than that pointed out by Mr. 
Warton. The Arabians were not only secluded from the 
other inhabitants of Spain, but were the objects of their 
deepest animosity ; and hence the Castilians would not 
readily imbibe the fictions of their enemies. It is unfortu- 
nate too that the intermediate station from the Moorish 
dominions in Spain should be fixed in Armorica, one of the 
provinces of France most remote from Grrenada.^ 

But if Armorica cannot without difficulty be adopted as 
a resting-place of romantic fiction, far less can it be con- 
sidered its native soil, as has been assumed in a third 
liyjjofhesis, maintained by Mr. Leyden in his Introduction 
to the Complaynt of Scotland. It is there argued, that a 
colony of Britons took refuge in Armorica during the fifth 
century, from the tyranny of the Saxons, and carried with 
them the archives which had escaped the fury of their 
conquerors.' The memory of Arthur and his knights was 
thus preserved in Armorica as fresh as in Wales or Corn- 
wall ; and the inhabitants of Armorica were the first 
people in France with whom the Normans had a friendly 
intercourse. Besides, the class of French romances relating 
to Charlemagne ascribed to that monarch the feats of 
Charles Martel, an Armorican chief, whose exploits would 
more probably be celebrated by the minstrels of his own 
country than by Turpiu, or any other writer of fabulous 

him back to his kingdom. The bird then carries the young hero to his 
father's pahice." Cf. the Pentanierone, bk. iv. story 3. De Gubernatis, 
Zoological Mvthol'igy, Lond. lS7:i. ii. p. 190. 

^ But see, infra, Spanish Romance. 

* See notes, pp. 1 18 and 144 of this vol. 


chronicles. In short, all the French romances originated 
in Brit any, and all the nations of Europe derived their 
tales of chivalry from the French. 

I am far from meaning to deny that copious materials of 
fiction were amassed in Brit any, and were thence dissemi- 
nated through France and England ; but it cannot be 
believed that the machinery of romance was created in a 
country, which, on the most favourable supposition, can 
only be regarded as a link in the chain of fiction ; and far 
less can it be thought that this pitiful kingdom was the 
only cradle of that spirit of chivalry, which at one time 
pervaded all the nations of Europe. 

In short, this Armorican system seems to have arisen 
from mistaking the collection of materials for the sources 
whence they derived their embellishment.^ 

IV. A fourth hypotliesis has been suggested, which repre- 
sents the machinery and colouring of fiction, the stories of 
enchanted gardens," monsters, and winged steeds, which 
have been introduced into romance, as derived from the 
classical and mythological authors ; and as being merely 
the ancient stories of Greece, grafted on modern manners, 
and modified by the customs of the day. The classical 
authors, it is true, were in the middle ages scarcely known ; 
but the superstitions they inculcated had been prevalent 
for too long a period, and had made too deep impression on 
the mind, to be easily obliterated. The mythological ideas 
which still lingered behind, were diffused in a multitude of 
popular works. In the Travels of Sir John Mandeville, 

^ See San Manhe (Die Arthur-Sage und die Marchen des Kothen 
Buchs von Hergest, pp. 37, etc.), who, with De la Rue in his Essai sur 
les Bardes et Jongleurs Anglo-Normands. p. 57, and Villemarque 
(Contes, i. p. 11, etc.), considers the home of these romantic fictions to be 
Britany, where they, as well as their fabulous embellishments, arose 
from the popular beliefs. (See Hiiet, Orig. des Eom., p. 155 ; Ritson, 
Ancient Metrical Romances, i. p. xix, etc.) 

See also Caylus, Orig. de I'ancienne Chevalerie et des anciens 
Romans, in Hist, de FAcad. des Inscrip., t. xxiii. p. 237. See also 
Warton's " History uf English Poetry," ed. by ^\. C. Hazlitt, London, 
1871, vol. i. p. 91, note, and T. Wi'ight, Latin Stories, Berington, pp. 
230-31 , and Hallam, Introduction to Literature of Europe in the Eifteenthy 
Sixteenth, and Seventeenth centtu-ies. § 54, etc. 

- See Notes on Albertus Magnus, Decameron of Boccaccio, x. 5, and 
supra, p. 51. 


there are frequent allusions to ancient fable ; and, as 
Middleton ^ has shown that a great number of the rites of 
the Latin Church were derived from pagan ceremonies, it 
is scarcely to be doubted that many classical were con- 
verted into romantic fictions. This, at least, is certain, 
that the classical system presents the most numerous and 
least exceptionable prototypes of the fables of romance. 

In many of the tales of chivalry there is a knight 
detained from his c^uest, by the enticements of a sorceress, 
and who is nothing more than the Calypso or Circe of 
Homer. The story of Andromeda might give rise to the 
fable of damsels being rescued by their favourite knight 
when on the point of being devoured by a sea-monster. 
The heroes of the Iliad and ^Eneid were both furnished 
with enchanted armour ; and, in the story of Polyphemus, 
a giant and his cave are exhibited. Herodotus, in his 
history [iii. 116], speaks of the Arimaspi, a race of Cyclops 
who inhabited the north, and waged perpetual war with the 
tribe of griffons, which guarded quantities of gold. The ex- 
pedition of Jason in search of the golden fleece ; the apples 
of the Hesperides, watched by a dragon ; the king's 
daughter who is an enchantress, who falls in love with and 
saves the knight, are akin to the marvels of romantic 
fiction ; especially of that sort supposed to have been in- 
troduced by the Arabians. Some of the less familiar 
fables of classical mythology, as the image in the Theo- 
gony of Hesiod of the murky prisons in -rt-hich the Titans 
were pent up by Jupiter, under the custody of strong armed 
giants, bear a striking resemblance to the more wild sub- 
limity of the Gothic fictions. 

Besides, a great number of those fables now considered 
as eastern, appear to have been originally Greek traditions, 
which were carried to Persia in the time of Alexander the 
Great, and were afterwards returned to Europe, with the 
modification they had received from oriental ideas. 

Perhaps it may be considered as a confirmation of the 
classical theory, that, in the 13th century, many classical 
stories appeared both in prose and in a metrical form, 
veiled in the garb of romantic fiction. Of this sort are the 

' Letter from Rome, etc., vol. 5. 


Latin works of Dares Phrygins, and Dictys Cretensis, con- 
cerning the wars of Troy ; and the still more ample 
chronicle of Guido de Colonna, formed from these authors 
through the medium of the French metrical work of Benoit 
de Saint More. But these and similar compositions will be 
more particularly mentioned when we come to treat of the 
classical romances in which Achilles, Jason, and Hercules, 
were adopted into chivalry, and celebrated in common 
with Lancelot, Roland, and Amadis, whom they so nearly 
resembled in the extravagance of their adventures.^ 

Mr. Eitson "" has successively attempted to ridicule the 
Gothic, Arabian, and Classical systems ; and has main- 
tained, that the origin of romance, in every age or country, 
must be sought in the different sorts of superstition which 
have from time to time prevailed. It is, he contends, a 
vain and futile endeavour, to seek elsewhere for the origin 
of fable. The French tales of chivalry, in particular, are 
too ancient to be indebted for their existence to any bar- 
barous nation whatever. In all climes where genius has 
inspired, fiction has been its earliest product, and every 
nation in the globe abounds in romances of its own inven- 
tion, and which it owes to itself alone. 

And, in fact, after all, a great proportion of the wonders 
of romance must be attributed to the imagination of the 
authors. A belief in superhuman agency seems to have 
prevailed in every age and country ; and monsters of all 
sorts have been created by exaggeration or fear. It was 
natural for the vulgar, in an ignorant age, as we see from 
the Turks even of the present day, to believe a palace, sur- 
passingly beautiful, to be the work of enchanters. To this 
we must join the supernatural wonders conjured up by a 
superstitious fancy, and the natui-al ones supplied by a 
mind unacquainted with the constitution of things. Thus 
to the deceptions of sight, produced by certain dispositions 
of light and shade — to the reflecting and magnifying 
power, possessed by mists and clouds, may be partly attri- 
buted the prevalence of stories of ghosts, giants, &c., in 
hilly or cloudy regions intersected by deej) valleys and 
lakes, or by woods, rocks, and rivers. 

^ See L. F. A. Maury, Croyanees, etc., and E. Leveque,Les Mythes, etc. 
2 Ancient English Metrical Koraance, a'oI. i. p. xix, etc. 


Jam turn Religio pavidos terrebat agrestes 
Dira loci ; jam tum sylvam saxum<iue tremebant. 
Hoc- nemiis. liiinr. iiKiuit, frondosu vcrtit-e collom, 
(Quis Deus, iiuerium est) habitat deus. Arcades ipsum 
Credunt se vidisse Jovem : cum s;cpe nigrantem 
jEgida concuterct dextva, nimbosque cieret. 

jEncis, viii. 349, etc. 

To all tins must be added the chimeras produced by in- 
dulgence in frolicsome combination. Such were the em- 
blematic cherub of the Hebrews [Ezekiel i. and x.], the 
compound images of the Egyptians, and the monster of 
mythology, which was described as 

Prima leo, postrema draco, media inde capella. 

lAicret. V. V. 901. 

In like manner the griffin is compounded of the lion and 
eagle ; the snake and lizard comprise the analysis, and may 
haye suggested the notion of a di-agon.^ The idea once 

^ "This solution of the origin of dragons was ver}- ingenious until 
the progress of geology in mndeni times brought to light the pterodactyl 
and ichthyosaurus. The former is almost the exact dragon of fiction. 
For a discussion on this subject, see a review of Mrs. Jameson's 'Sacred 
and Legendary Art/ by the Rev. Charles Kingsley, in Eraser's Maga- 
zine, ^larch, 1849. reprinted in his ' Miscellanies,' vol. i." — H. Jenner. 

It has been suggested, but upon scarcely sufficient grounds, that the 
representations of dragons in Chinese art, due, as they doubtless are, to 
traditions of extreme antiquity, are derived originally from memories of 
animal forms long since extinct. In this connection we may refer to an 
article on birds with teeth, in the Popular Science Review for 1875. 

In Dr. Zachary Greys notes on Hudibras (vol. i. p. 125) thei*e is a 
story of a man making a dragon from a rat. " ^Ir. Jacob Bobart, 
botany professor of Oxford, did, about forty years ago, find a dead rat 
in the physical garden, which he made to resemble the common picture 
of dragons, by altering head and tail, and thrusting in taper sharp sticks,, 
which distended the skin on each side, till it mimicked wings. lie let it 
dry as hard as possible. The learned pronounced it a dragon ; and one 
of them sent an accurate description to Magliabecchi, librarian to the 
Grand Duke of Tuscany. Several fine copies of verses were wrote on so 
rare a subject : but at last Mr. Bobart owned the cheat. However, it 
was looked upon as a masterpiece of art, and, as such, deposited in the 
museum or anatomy school, where I saw it some years after.*' A truly 
appalling exhibition of terrific artificial monsters is to be seen at the 
Colonial Museum of the Hague. It consists of a collection of the most 
frightful combinations of different animals : winged serj)ents, reptiles 
with human heads, or with two or more heads, etc. These are con- 
structed by the natives of some of the Dutch colonies. They are, indeed^ 
well calculated to strike the beholder with terror and horror. The joint- 


formed of a being of larger dimensions than his fellow- 
mortals, it was easy to increase his proportions, and to 
diversify his shape with every variety of monstrous attri- 
bute ; and it was natural, as in the case of Goliah, to 
bestow a ferocity of disposition, corresj^onding to the 
terrors of aspect, ^^^len once the notion of an enchanter 
was conceived, it was not difficult to assign him more 
extensive powers, to render his spells more potent, and 
their effects more awful or splendid. " Impenetrable 
armour," says Mr. Hobbes, " enchanted castles — invul- 
nerable bodies — iron men — flying horses, and other such 
things, are easily feigned by them that dare." 

II. Although the theories which have now been detailed 
may be sufficient, separately or united, to explain the 
origin of the supernatural ornaments of romance, still they 
are to be considered merely as embellishments of those 

ings are neatly effected, and the scales and other external appurtenances 
of the animals, which are carefully retained in these composite monsters, 
add, of coux'se, to their repulsive realism. 

A combination of diverse animal forms Avas one of the favourite re- 
sources of the mediaeval artist for representing Satan and his imps ; note 
also the fauns, satyrs, hippogrifFs, etc., of classic mythology. That in 
its endeavour to evoke entirely new conceptions, the mind can after all 
but fall back upon known forms, and devise perverse distortions or in- 
congruous combinations of them, is but a proof of the poverty of human 
invention and of the gulf between creature and Creator. 

The dragon, according to Sir Walter Scott, was familiar to the Celtic 
tribes at an early period, and was borne on the banner of Pendragon, 
who from that circumstance derived his name. Arthur's standard was' 
also a dragon. A description of this banner, the magical work of Mer- 
lin, occurs in the romance of Arthur and Merlin in the Auchinleck MS,, 
printed for the Abbotsford Club, 183S : — 

*' Merlin bar her gonfanoun ; 

Upon the top stode a dragoun, 

Swithe griseliche a litel croune. 

Fast him biheld al tho in the toune. 

For the mouth he had grinninge 

And the tong out flatlinge 

That our kest sparkes of fer, 

Into the skies that flowen cler," etc. 
The dragon is repeatedly mentioned in the Welsh triads. In a battle 
fought at Bedford, about 752, betwixt Ethelbald, king of Mercia, and 
Cuthred, king of Wessex, a golden dragon, the banner of the latter, was 
borne in front of the combat by Edelheim or Edelhun, a chief of the 
West Saxons. Notes on Sir Tristram, p. 290.— Park. (See Warton, i. 
p. 105.) See supp. note at end of vol. 


chivalrous adventures which occupy by far the greatest 
proportion of romantic compilation. 

The Chissieal System, allowing it to be well founded 
with regard to the introduction of giants, hippogrift's, or 
enchanters, cannot explain the enterprise, the gallantry, 
and romantic valour, attril>uted to the knights of chivalry. 
It is, no doul)t, true, that a striking analogy subsists 
between the manners of the heroic and Gothic times. In 
both periods robbery was regarded as honourable ; or, at 
least, was not the forerunner of infamy. Bastardy, in both 
ages, was in peculiar rej^utation : The most renowned 
knights of chivalry, as Roland and Amadis, were illegiti- 
mate ; and the heroes of antiquity were the spurious off- 
spring of demigods and nymphs. The martial games, too, 
may in their design and their eifects be considered as 
analogous to tournaments. Equal encouragement was 
given to the bards of G-reece, and the minstrels of the 
middle ages ; while Hercules and Bacclius, who are repre- 
sented as roaming through their country, inflicting jiunish- 
ment on robbers, and extirpating monsters, may be re- 
garded as the knights errant of antiquity. But these re- 
semblances arose merely from a corresponding state of 
manners ; since, at a similar stage of the social progress, 
similar ideas and customs are prevalent amongst different 

Still less can it be believed that the spirit of chivalry 
received its impulse from the knight errantry of Arabia. 
This part of his system, Mr. Warton has ])ut feebly urged. 
The nature of Arabian and chivalrous enterprise was by no 
means the same ; nor is it probable that the Europeans 
derived the dominant part of their manners and institu- 
tions from a secluded and a hostile people. 

But Dr. Percy, and other supporters of the Gotliic 
system, have strenuously maintained that the ideas of 
chivalry, the soul and subject of romance, subsisted from 
the earliest period among the northern nations, and were 
thence transfused into the fictions of a subsequent age/ I 

^ Quamquam severa illic matrimonia : nee ullam morum partem 
magis laudaveris: nam prope soli barbarorum singulis uxoribus contenti 
sunt, exceptis admodum paucis. qui non libidine. sed ob nobilitatem, 
plurimis nuptiis ambiuntur. Dotem non uxor marito, sed uxori maritus, 


conceive, however, tliat althoTigli the rudiments of chivahy 
may have existed, these notions were not sufficiently general, 
nor developed, to have become, without farther preparation, 
the reigning topics of composition. Instances, too, of chi- 
valrous gallantry would have been found in the earlier 
ages of the history of France, but the manners during the^ 
two first races of its monarchs, were far from exhibiting 
any symptoms of courtesy. 

It was under the feudal establishments, subsequently 
erected in Europe, that chivalry received its vigour, and 
was invested with the privileges of a regular institution. 
The chivalry, therefore, unfolded in romance, was the off- 
spring of existing manners, and was merely an exaggerated 
picture of the actual state of society, of which oppression,, 
anarchy, and restless courage, were the characteristics, 
but which sometimes produced examples of virtue and 

On the fall of the Eoman empire, the lands overrun by 
the barbarous nations being parcelled out amongst a num- 
ber of independent chieftains, whose aims and interests, 
frequently interfered, it became an object with every baron 
to assemble round his person, and to attach, by the strongest 
bonds, the greatest possible number of young men of rank 
and courage. The knight, or soldier, at the same time- 
found it necessary to look to some superior for support, 
against the oppression of other chieftains. 

That these ties might be rendered closer, and that the- 
candidate for knighthood might be instructed in courtesj 
and the art of war, it was customary to remove him at an 
early age from his father's house to the court or castle of 
his future patron. 

Those who were destined for this sort of life, first acted 

offert, etc. Tacitus, De Mor. Germ, xviii., etc. "Flusque ibi boni 
mores valent, quam alibi bonse leges," xix. 

Ubi quis ex principibus [Gerraanorum] in concilio dixit, " Se ducem 
fore ; qui sequi velint profiteantur f consurgunt ii, qui et causam et 
hominem probant, suumque auxilium pollicentur, atque "ab multitudine- 
collaudantur : qui ex iis secuti non sunt, in desertorum ac proditorum 
numero ducuntur, omniumque iis rerum postea fides derogatur. Hospites 
violare, fas non putant ; qui quaque de causa ad eos venerint, ab injuria 
pi'ohibent, sanctosque habent : iis omnium domus patent, victusque 
communicatur." — Caesar, De Belle Gall., vi. 23. 


as pages or varlets ; they performed menial services, which 
at that time were not considered as degrading ; they were 
initiated into the ceremonial of a court, and were at the 
same time instructed in those bodily exercises which were 
considered the best preparation for their future career. 

Tlie castle in which the candidate for knighthood re- 
ceived his education, was usually thronged with young 
persons of a different sex. The intercourse wliich he thus 
enjoyed was the best school for the refinements of courtesy : 
he was taught to select some lady as the mistress of his 
soul, to whom were referred all his sentiments and actions. 
Her image was implanted in his heart, amid the fairy 
scenes of childhood, and was afterwards blended with its 
recollections. In the middle ages, society was in an inter- 
mediate state, removed from the extremes of indigence and 
luxury, which is most favourable to love : and that passion 
was sometimes so nourished by obstacles, that it was 
exalted into a species of devotion. 

Thus the service of a mistress became the future glory 
and occupation of the candidate for knighthood. At the 
same time that this duty was inculcated, the emulation of 
military excellence was excited by the example of his com- 
peers and his patron. When the youth passed to the con- 
dition of squire, they attended their master abroad ; if he 
engaged in battle they took no part in the rencounter, but 
remained spectators of the combat, and, by attention to the 
various movements, were instructed in the art of war. 

Tlieir time was also, in a great measure, devoted to those 
sports which were kindred to the occupations of war, and 
the knowledge of which was an essential preliminary to 
reception mto the order of knighthood. 

If that investiture be merely considered as a ceremony, 
by which young persons destined to the military profession 
received their arms, its institution, we are told, is as ancient 
as the age of Charlemagne ; but, if considered as a dignity, 
which, by certain forms, conferred the first rank in the 
military order, it cannot easily be traced higher than the 
11th century. In the forests of Germany, the initiation of 
a youth into the profession of a warrior, had been attended 
with appropriate ceremonies. The chieftain of the tribe 
decorated him with a sword and armour [Tacitus, Germ. c. 

I. K 


xiii.] — a simple form, which, in the progress of the feudal 
system, was converted into a mysterious and pompous rite. 

On his reception into this order, the knight became 
bound to the observance of loyalty to his superior, to an 
impartial distribution of justice to his vassals, to an in- 
violable adherence to his word, and attention to a courtesy 
which embellished his other qualities, and softened his 
other duties. All those who were unjustly oppressed, or 
conceived themselves to be so, were entitled to claim his 
protection and succour. The ladies in this respect enjoyed 
the most ample j^rivileges. Destitute of the means of sup- 
port, and exposed to the outrages of avarice or passion, 
they were consigned to his special care, and placed under 
the guardship of his valiant arm. 

The promotion of knights, which sometimes took place 
after the performance of military exploits, but more fre- 
C[uently on church festivals, coronations, baptisms, or the 
conclusion of peace, was generally followed by jousts and 
tournaments. Of these institutions (which were of French 
invention, and were introduced about the time of the first 
crusade,) the former was of a more private and inferior, the 
latter of a more pompous and public description. Both 
were contrived for the purpose of interesting the mind, when 
scenes of real warfare did not present themselves, and of 
displaying, at the same time, the magnificence of the prince 
or baron. ^ 

^ Henry the Fowler, Emperor of Germany from 918 to 936, in his 
war with the Hungarians, was enabled, by the help of the nobles he had 
summoned to his aid, to conclude an armistice for a year. Fearing his 
auxiliaries might not be disposed to resume war at the expiry of the term 
if he allowed them to disperse, he proposed to them to remain at Mag- 
deburg, and to enliven the tedium of the prolonged stay devised a sort 
of contest of skill — tournaments, in fact. The nobles fell into the plan, 
each adopting a peculiar colour or badge on his shield to distinguish him 
from the others. Some pushed these distinctions much farther, causing 
their retainers to wear their particular colours, or having their pecu- 
liar badge embroidered upon their dress ; others again went to a whim- 
sical extent by dressing up the men who held their shields when not 
actually in use, as stags, apes, lions, unicorns, or any other favourite 
animal, real or fictitious. When these persons held the shield so that it 
covered their heads, they were designated siqjports, but if their heads ap- 
peared above the shield then they were called holders, according to M. 
Genouillac, who discerns in this practice the origin of those figures of men 
or animals which are often placed on each side of an escutcheon, and are 


Some time before the exhibition of a tournament, heralds 
were despatched throuo:h the country, to invite all knights 
to contend for prizes, and merit the affection of their 

After the tournaments were proclaimed, they frequently 
commenced with skirmishing between the squires ; and 
those who particularly distinguished themselves were 
allowed to enter the lists with the knights. When it 
came to the turn of the latter, each knight usually declared 
himself the servant of some lady, who generally presented 
him with a token of favour, a veil, a scarf, a bracelet, or, 
as we are told by Chaucer in his story of Troilus, a pencel 
of her sleeve, with which he adorned his shield or helmet, 
and by means of which his person was recognized in all the 
vehemence of the conflict. If these marks of distinction were 
carried off during the contest, the lady sent him others 
to reanimate his courage, and invigorate his exertions. 

In all these rencounters certain rules of combat were 
established, which it was considered infamous to violate. 
Thus, it was not lawful to wound an adversary's horse, nor 
to strike a knight who took off his visor or his helmet. 

When the tournaments were concluded, the conquerors 
were conducted, with much solemnity, to the palace of the 
prince or baron, where they were attired in the most splen- 
did habits of peace, and disarmed by the hands of the fair ; 
their deeds were inscribed on the records of the heralds at 
arms, and formed the subject of the lays of the minstrel, 
which were spread through the neighbouring courts, to ex- 
'ite emulation or envy. 

But it would be endless to describe those ceremonies by 
which tournaments were prepared, accompanied, or followed, 
and which occupy, I am sure, more than a fourth j^art of 
the romances of chivalry, which, in this respect, have 
merely presented an embelUshed picture of what actually 

As the genius of chivalry had ever studied to rei)resent 

now generally called supporters. The very terms bla-o/i and heraldry 
are both of German origin, from hlasen. to blow the trumpet which sig- 
nalled the commencement of the spectacle, while the herault had to pro- 
cluim aloud (o\A German karen,'' to cry," cf. '• harum scarum,") the 
names of the combatants and the conditions of the contest. 


in totirnaments a faithful picture of the labours and dan- 
gers of war, it had ever preserved in war an image of the 
courtesy which prevailed in tournaments. The desire of 
pleasing some lady, and of appearing worthy of her, was in 
the true, as in the fictitious combat, one of the strongest 
motives that prompted to heroic action. That champion 
who, while rushing into combat, expressed a wish, as we 
are told, that his lady beheld him, must also have been 
stimulated by the hope that she might one day listen to 
the report of his prowess. In real battle the knight was 
frequently decked with the device of his mistress, and seri- 
ously offered combat to an enemy (not, indeed, as a primary 
cause of quarrel, but where other grounds of hostility 
existed), to dispute the pre-eminence of the beauty of their 
mistresses, and the strength of their attachment. As the 
valour, too, of a single combatant was conspicuous, and 
had a considerable influence on the fortune of the day, the 
same individuals were led frequently to encounter each 
other, which gave rise to that peculiar species of combat 
painted in the fables of romance. 

The policy which employed love, united with reverence 
for the ladies, and the thirst of glory, to inspire sentiments 
of bravery and honour, also joined the heroes of its creation 
by the ties of friendship. They became united for all their 
future exploits, or for the accomplishment of some exalted 
emprise, which had a limited object ; — and hence the frater- 
nity of arms, by which knights are frequently associated in 
tales of chivalry. 

The restless spirit of the feudal system, and the institu- 
tions of chivalry, stimulated their votaries to roam in quest 
of such adventures for the mere pleasure of achieving them. 
At their return, the knights were obliged by oath to give 
the heralds -at- arms a faithful account of their exploits ; an 
obligation which explains their declining no service of dan- 
ger, though it was to be performed without witnesses, and 
might have been avoided without detection. 

Enough, I trust, has been said to account for that 
passion for arms, that love of enterprise, and that extrava- 
gant species of gallantry, which were the mevitable conse- 
quence of the feudal principles, and are the characteristic 
features of romance. 


Next to those encounters, sous^lit from love of enterprise, 
or of the fair, the great proportion of eomljats described in 
romance may be termed judicial. These took place on a 
defiance of the challenger to the accepter, or an accusation 
against a third party in whom the accepter was interested, 
or whose cause he espoused from a spirit of chivalry. Such 
encounters were suggested by those judicial combats by 
which, during the middle ages, disputes in civil courts were 
actually decided. The judge, or magistrate, unable to re- 
strain the violence of Utigants, and wishing not to lose all 
shadow of authority, contented himself with superintend- 
ing the ceremonies and regulating the forms of a mode of 
decision so consonant to their temper. This prompt appeal 
to the sword was also encouraged by a retributive principle 
in the human mind, which renders it natural to believe 
that guilt will be punished and innocence vindicated. The 
impatience of mankind led them to imagine that the inter- 
vention ought to take place in this world, and that a solemn 
appeal to Heaven would be followed by a discovery of its 
will ; an opinion strengthened in those times by means of 
the clergy, whose interest it was to represent Divine power 
as dispensing with the laws of nature on the most frivolous 

In consecjuence too of the well-known circumstances 
which tended to promote the influence of the church, 
the real knight was frequently characterized by the 
appearance at least of a warm and zealous devotion. His 
religious duties consisted in visiting holy places, in depo- 
siting his own arms, or those of conquered enemies, in 
monasteries or temples, in the observance of different 
festivals, or the practice of exercises of j^enitence. A 
bigoted veneration for the monastic profession, even in- 
duced many individuals, both knights and princes, to finish 
their days in spiritual seclusion. Hence a romance of 
chivalry, as will be afterwards seen, exhibits examples of 
the most superstitious devotion, and frequently terminates 
with the retirement of the principal character to a monas- 
tery or hermitage. 

To the love of war, and of enterprise, to the extravagant 
gallantry, united with superstition, by which the order of 
knighthood was distinguished, may be traced the greater 


23roportion of the adventures delineated in romance. There 
we shall hardly find a motive of action which may not be 
referred to some of the principles by which society in those 
times was in reality actuated. On this favourable basis of 
manners and ideas, the credulity or fancy of the age grafted 
the supernatural wonders drawn from the sources that have 
already been traced ; and the adventures of knights, em- 
bellished by these additional marvels, were exaggerated, 
extended, and multij^lied to infinity by the imagination of 

Such are probably the sources whence fablers have been 
supplied with the general adventures of chivalry, and the 
romantic embellishments by which they have been adorned. 

III. We must now consider how these adventures and 
embellishments have been appropriated to individual 
knights, and turn our attention to the materials which 
have supplied the leading subjects and the principal cha- 
racters of romantic composition. 

At a time when chivalry excited such universal admira- 
tion, and when its effects were at least ostensibly directed 
to the piiblic good, it was natural that history and fable 
should be ransacked to furnish examples which might in- 
crease emulation. 

Arthur and Charlemagne, with their peers, were the heroes 
most early and most generally selected for this purpose. The 
tales concerning these warriors are the first sjDecimens extant 
of this sort of composition, and from their early popularity, 
from the beauty of the fictions with which they were in the 
beginning supported, and from flattering the vanity of the 
two first nations in Europe, they long continued (diversified 
indeed, and enlarged by subsecjuent embelhshments,) to be 
the prevalent and favourite topics. 

And here it is j)roper to divide the prose romances, with 
which we shall be afterwards engaged, into four classes : — 
1. Those relating to Arthur and the knights of the Eound 
Table. 2. Those connected with Charlemagne and his 
Paladins. 3. The Spanish and Portuguese romances, which 
chiefly contain the adventures of the imaginary families of 
Amadis and Palmerin. 4. AVhat may be termed classical 
romances, which represent the heroes of anticjuity m the 
guise of romantic fiction. 


When we come to treat of the romances relating to Char- 
lemaii^ne, we sliall consider the influence of the chronicle at- 
tributed to Turpin ; l)ut our attention is in the first place 
demanded by the romances of Arthur and the Round Table, 
as they form the most ancient and numerous class of which 
any trace remains. These originated in the early and chi- 
merical legends of Armorica and Wales ; the ancient Latin 
chronicles of this island, which have been founded on them ; 
and the subsequent metrical romances of the English and 
Norman minstrels. 

The Norman conquerors are said first to have become in- 
terested in the history and antiquities of Britain during the 
reign of Stephen, as by that period they had begun to con- 
sider themselves natives. 

From the writings of G-ildas or Nennius, however, they 
could not easily have extracted a consistent or probable story. 

G-ildas, or, as Mr. Gibbon has styled him, the British 
Jeremiah, is the author of Lamentations over the Destruc- 
tion of Britain, which is a whining elegy, and of an epistle, 
which is a frantic satire on the vices of his countrymen : 
he has given exaggerated expressions, and distorted facts, 
instead of presenting an authentic narrative of our early 
annals, an important object which he might easily have ac- 
complished ; as, according to tradition, he was the son of 
Caw, a British prince, who lived in the sixth century, and 
was engaged along with his father in the wars carried on 
by his countrymen against the Northumbrian Saxons. 
After the defeat of the Britons at Cattraeth, he fled into 
Wales, and acted as schoolmaster at Bangor.^ 

Nennius is said to have lived about the middle of the 
ninth century : his work is merely a dry epitome ; nor even 
of this abstract does there exist a pure and perfect copy. 
He is solicitous to quote his authorities, l>ut unfortunately 
they are not of the most unexceptionable nature, as they 
consist of the lives of saints and ancient British traditions, 
on which he bestows credit in proportion to their absurdity. 
In one of his chapters he has given an outline of the story 
of Brut, which coincides with the account of Geoifrey of 
Monmouth ; and in chapter fourth he commences a circum- 

^ About the personality of Gildas scarcely anything is positively 
known. See Smith's " Diet, of Christian Biography," ii. 672 (1880). 


stantial detail of the life of Merlin, corresponding, in many 
respects, with the incidents of romance.^ 

Besides the lachrymal history of Gildas, and the jejune 
narrative of Nennius, there existed many Welsh tradi- 
tions, which seem to have occupied the attention of Norman 

The annals and poetry of Wales had long laboured in 
Arthur's commendation. Compelled to yield their country, 
the Welsh avenged themselves on the Saxons by creating, 
in the person of Arthur, not only a phantom of glory which 
towered above every warrior, but a j^olitical saviour, who 
like the Barbarossa of G-erman jDopular superstition, was 
only temporarily hid, and would one day reappear and re- 
assert the national independence. This apparition seems 
to have acquired its chief magnitude and terrors in the 
traditions and legends of Britany. Walter Calenius, or 
Grualtier, as he is sometimes called. Archdeacon of Ox- 
ford, of whom a good account will be found in Morley's 
"English Writers" (vol. i. pp. 584-600), amassed a 
great collection of these materials during an expedition 
to Armorica, or Britany, a province from which the 
royal ancestors of Arthur were believed to have origi- 
nally issued. On his return to England, the archdeacon 
presented this medley of historical songs and traditions to 
Geoffrey of Monmouth," who founded on them a chronicle 

^ Ellis's " Early Meti-ical Romances," vol. i. 

^ Geoffrey of Monmouth, called in Welsh Galffrai or Gruffydd ap 
Arthur, was, as the Welsh name implies, the son of one Arthur, of whom 
nothing is known. It has indeed been supposed by some that he was nick- 
named " Arthur." on account of the chief hero of his romance or history, 
this opinion being chiefly gathered from certain derogatory remarks of 
William of Newburgh (who died 1 198). However, as he appears under the 
name of " Gaufridus Artur " in the foundation charter of Oseney Abbey 
in 1129 (for which see the Register of the Abbey, Cotton MS. Vitell. E. 
XV. f. 6), in company with his friend Walter the Archdeacon, it is evi- 
dent that it was his real patronymic. Losing his father at an early age 
he was brought up by his uncle Uchtryd, Archdeacon, and afterwards 
Bishop of Llandaff. It is possible that he began his history somewhei'e 
about 1129, when, as we have seen, he was at Oxford with Archdeacon 
Walter, but, as he himself says, he had hardly got half way through it 
when Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln, set him to translate the Prophecies 
of Merlin from Welsh into Latin, and this work, which is largely quoted 
by Ordericus Vitalis in his twelfth book, which was written in 11.36 or 
1137, must have been finished about that date. The first recension of 


of Britain, which was written in Latin prose, and is sup- 
posed to have been finished about 1140. A notion has 
been adopted by some autliors that Geoffrey composed, or 
invented, most part of the chronicle which he professed to 

the history, which is now lost, is quoted by Henry of Huntingdon in 
1139. as the work of Guufridus Ai'turus, so it is probable that lie did not 
become Archdeacon of ^lonmouth till 1140, when his uncle Uchtryd was 
made Bishop. Having; lost his patrons, Kobert of Gloucester, and 
Alexander. Bishop of Lincoln, as well as his uncle Uchtryd in 1147-8, 
he seems to have sought for a patron at Stephen's Court, and to have 
addressed the poem known as the " Vita ^Nlerlini,-' to Kobert dcChesney. 
the new Bishop of Lincoln, in 1149. He was ordained priest by Arch- 
bishop TheobalH, February 15th. 1152, atid on the 24tli of the same 
month was consecrated Bishop of St. Asaph, but as the Gwentian " Brat 
y Twysoysogion " says, ho never entered upon his functions, but died at 
Llandaff, in 1 154. 

The existence of the Welsh original of Geoffrey's history has been 
doubted by some, principally on account of the playful tone of his epi- 
logue. There are, however, good reasons for believing in its existence. 
Two of the Welsh versions have colophons stating that Walter the Arch- 
deacon translated the work from Welsh into Latin in his younger days, 
and again in his old age translated from Latin into Welsh, and Geoffrey 
Gaimar states in the epilogue to his poem that he had taken passages 
from the good book of Oxford, '' Ki fust Walter I'arcediaen.'" This last, 
however, may have been either the book l)rought out of Brittany, or a 
copy of Xt-nnius. M. Paulin Paris thinks that the book from Brittany 
was nothing but a Xennius, and that that work was written on the Con- 
tinent ; this opinion, however, will hardly hold good. The Historia 
Britonum, originally ascribed to Gildas, but now to Nennius. a monk of 
Bangor, was compiled by several writers, the last of whom gives his 
date as 946, adds that this was the tifth year of Edmund. King of the 
English (see Rev. W. Gunn's edition of the Vatican MS. of the Chro- 
nicle). The other dates refer almost exclusively to the British Islands, 
and only one very slight mention is made of Armorica, and the composi- 
tion, according to Mr. W. F. Skene (Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, 
&c.), is markedly Welsh. Mr. Skene conjectures that it was made 
known to the Saxons through the conquests of King Edmund in Strath- 
clyde in 945. William of Malmesbury refers to it as the " Gesta Bri- 
tonum,"" and Henry of Huntingdon speaks of it as the work of Gildas. 
Geoffrey makes several (piotations from Bede and Gildas, with or with- 
out acknowledgment, but though he makes far more considerable (piota- 
tions from Xennius he never once mentions him, and on one occasion 
while using the words of X'ennius about St. Germanus, he refers to 
Gildas, whose extant W(5rks do not mention that saint. The whole ques- 
tion is very ably discussed in Mr. H. L. I). Ward's Catalogue (vol. i. 
pp. 203-222), from which this note is chiefly borrowed. Mr. Ward is of 
opinion that the Breton book was not a mere copy of X'ennius, but that 
much of the history was founded on it. The sites of the chief Arthurian 
events, viz. the twelve ballads, as given by X'^ennius, may be fairly iden- 


translate from British originals. This idea was first started 
by Polvdore Virgil [Historia Anglicana, Lugd. Bat. 1649, 
c. i. p. 25], who has been followed bv later writers ; but it 
has been satisfactorily shown by Mr. Ellis that there is no 
solid reason to doubt the repeated assertions of G-eoffrey, 
that he has merely rendered into Latin the text of Breton 
authorities. His fabulous relations concerning Brut, Ar- 
thur, and Merlin, coincide with those contained in Nennius, 
or the Lives of the Saints, and therefore could not have 
been invented by Geoffrey. The history, too, bears internal 

tified with places along the line of the Koman wall between Clyde and 
Forth (see Skene's '•' Four Ancient Books of Wales," vol. i. pp. 50-58) ; 
but the story of Arthur had travelled south before the days of Geoffrey. 
The monks of Laon, who visited Cornwall in 1113, were shown rocks 
called Arthur's Chair and Arthur's Oven (which still exist between 
Bodmin and Cameltbrd. the latter being a Kistvaen), and were told that 
this was his native land, and they narrowly escaped assault at Bodmin 
for doubting that Arthur was yet alive. They also mention that similar 
legends existed in Brittany (see Hermannus, De Miraculis S. ^Nlarise Lau- 
dunensis, bk. ii. 15. 16, in Migne's '• Patrologia Latina," torn. 156, col. 
983). Thus, since also Geoffrey's Arthur is the grandson of an Armori- 
can prince, and his Armorican cousin Hoel is his companion both at 
home and in Gaul, and Cadwalader finds a last hope for the degenerate 
Britons in Armorica, one can hardly doubt that Geoffrey derived much 
of the last part of his history from a Breton source. 

As regards Walter the Archdeacon little is known. He is mentioned 
(according to White Kennet. Bishop of Peterborough, Laus. MS. 935 in 
the British Museum) as Ai'chdeacon of Oxford in 1104 and 1111. In 
1113 he witnessed a grant, copied in the Chronicon de Abingdon, he acted 
as Justiciary at W^inchester in 1123, and at Peterborough in 1 125 (see 
Chi-onicon de Abingdon, Eolls edition, vol. ii. pp. 62,63, 116, and Gun- 
ton's " History of the Church of Peterborough,*' p. 274). In 1129, he 
witnessed the foundation charter of Oseney (see above). His successor, 
Kobert Foliot. was appointed in 1151. In documents of his own time he 
has no further designation, and he has been frequently confounded with 
another Walter, Ai-chdeacon of Oxford, the celebrated Walter Map, 
who held that office in 1196. Bale (Scriptorum Bi*ytanie Catalogus, 
1559) calls him Walter Calenius. This epithet some have connected with 
Calne, others with Calena, a corruption of •'• Calleva Atrebatum,"' gene- 
rally identified with Silchester. In Leland"s time Calena was taken to 
mean Oxford, in which sense Bale probably understood it. Camden, 
however, started a tlieory that Calena was a corruption of " Gwall Nen " 
(the old wall), stated by him to have been the British name of Walling- 
ford. This view was adopted by Kennet, and from the latter by Le 
Neve in his Fasti, and thus, to quote ^Ir. Ward. "Archdeacon Walter 
is now comnmnly styled Walter of Wallingford." 

For a fuller account of the History of Geoffrey of Monmouth, see 
Ward's " Catalogue." — H. Jenneb. 


evidence of its Armorieau descent, as it ascribes to Hoel, a 
hero of that country, manv of the victories which tradition 
attributes to Arthur. 

But whether this celebrated chronicle be the invention of 
Geoli'rey, or whether it presents a faithful picture of the 
traditions and fables at that period received as history, 
there can be no doubt, according to the expression of Mr. 
Ellis, who has given an analysis of the whole work, that it 
is one of the corner-stones of romance. 

This chronicle consists of nine books, each of which is 
divided into chapters, and commences with the history of 
Brutus, the son of Sylvius, and grandson of Ascanius, who, 
being- exiled from Italy in consequence of having acciden- 
tally slain his father, takes refuge in Greece. There he 
obtains the hand of Imogen, daughter of a king of that 
country, and a fleet, with which he arrives in Albion (then 
only inhabited by a few giants), and founds the kingdom 
called Britain from his name. There is next presented an 
account of the fabulous race of Brutus, particularly Ai'thur, 
and the whole concludes with the reign of Cadwallader, one 
of the descendants of that hero. 

It would indeed be difficult to extract any authentic his- 
tory from the chronicle of Geoffrey, but it stamped with 
the character of veracity the exploits of the early knights 
of chivalry, and authorized a compilation of the fables re- 
lated of these fanciful heroes. In the age in which the 
chronicle appeared it was difficult to arrive at truth, and 
error was not easily detected. Criticism was hardly called 
into existence, and falsehood was adopted with an eagerness 
proportioned to its envelopment in the fascinating garb 
of wonder. The readers were more ignorant than the authors, 
and a credulous age readily grafted on stories that were 
evidently false, incidents that were physically impossible. 
These were drawn from the sources already pointed out, and 
were added, according to fancy, to unauthentic histories, 
which thus degenerated, or were exalted, into romance. 

In the ehronicle of Geoffrey, indeed, there is nothing said 
of the exploits of Tristran and Lancelot, or conquest of the 
Sangreal, or Holy Grail, which constitute so large a propor- 
tion of the Round Table romances. These were subsequent 
additions, but probably derived, like the chronicle, from 



ancient Britisli originals, as the names of the heroes, and 
the scenes of their adventures, are still British. 

The work of G-eoffi-ey of Monmouth, and such tradi- 
tionary fables, were the foundation of those tales which 
appeared in a metrical form, the shape in which, it is ac- 
knowledged, romance was first exhibited. 

It seems, also, unquestionable, that these metrical ro- 
mances, though written in England, first apj^eared in the 
French language. 

In its earliest signification, the term Romance was ap- 
l^ropriated to the dialects spoken in the different European 
provinces that had been subjected to the Eoman emj^ire, 
and of which Latin was the basis, though other materials 
might enter into the construction. The romance was at 
one time the colloquial language of G-aul. Subsequently, 
indeed, various dialects were introduced into that country, 
but it was still preserved in Normandy ; and thence was 
again diffused througli the other provinces north of the 
Loire. Hence Romance was first merely a general designa- 
tion applied to works written in the vernacular as opposed 
to those composed in Latin ; and was often applied to real 
history. Its first application to an epic poem was in the 
title of Wace's " Roman du Brut." 

The earliest sj^ecimens of northern French literature are 
metrical Lives of the Saints. These are supposed to have 
been translated from Latin compositions about the middle 
of the eleventh century. In the beginning of the next 
century they Avere followed by several didactic works, as 
the Bestiarius, a poem on natural history, by Philip de 
Thaun, addressed to the queen of Henry I. of England, 
and a metrical treatise on chronology by the same author. 
It is believed, however, that no trace of a professed work 
of fiction — no specimen of what we should now term a 
romance, is to be found before the middle of the twelfth 
century. Then, indeed, the minstrels introduced a great 
variety of their own compositions, and formed new combi- 
nations from the numerous materials in their possession. 

Before this time the language in which they wrote had 
passed into England by means of the Norman Conquest. 
The English, indeed, previous to this event had been pre- 
pared for the reception of the French language. Edward 


the Confessor had been educated in France, and, on his 
accession to the throne of Eughmd, i)romoted liis con- 
tinental favourites to the hiojhest dignities. Under their 
influence the nation began to lay aside its English customs, 
and to imitate the language and manners of the French. 
(Ingulph. Hist. Crovl. p. 62, ed. Tyrwhitt, vol. iv., or 
Lond., 1843, p. xvii. n. 5.) These fashions having been 
adopted in comj^liance with the caprice of the reigning 
monarch, might probably have expired imder his succes- 
sors ; but before this extirpation could be effected, the 
French language, by means of the Norman Conquest, 
became interwoven with the new political system. The 
king, the chief officers of state, and a great proportion of 
the nobility, were Normans, and understood no tongue but 
that of their ^^»wn country. Hence the few Saxons who 
were still admitted at court had the strongest inducements 
to acc^uire the language of their conquerors. William the 
First also distributed a share of his acquisitions among his 
great barons who had attended liim ; and who, when it 
was in their power, retired from court to their feudal 
domains, followed by vassals from among their country- 
men. Hence the language which was used in their common 
conversation and judicial ^proceedings, was diffused through 
the most distant provinces. All ecclesiastical preferments, 
too, were V)estowed on Norman chaplains, and those who 
were promoted to abbacies were anxious to stock their 
monasteries with foreigners. Tlius the higher orders of 
the clergy and laity spoke the French language, while the 
lower retained the use of their native tongue, but fre- 
quently added a knowledge of the dialect of the con- 
querors. Matters continued in this state with little varia- 
tion during the reigns of the Norman kings and the first 
monarchs of the house of Plantagenet. 

The Norman minstrels, accordingly, who had followed 
their barons to the English court, naturally wrote and 
recited their metrical compositions in the language which 
was most familiar to themselves, and which, being most 
prevalent, procured them the greatest number of readers of 
rank and distinction. 

From the early connection of the Normans with the 
people of Britany, the minstrels had received from the 


latter those traditions, tlie remains of whicli they brought 
over with them to England/ 

These they found in a more perfect state among the 
Welsh of this island." The invasion of the Normans, and 
the overthrow of the Saxons, were events beheld with exul- 
tation by the descendants of the aboriginal Britons, who 
readily associated with those who had avenged them on 
their bitterest enemies ; while to the Normans the legends 
of the Welsh must have been more acceptable than those 
of the Saxons. In the long course of political intrigue, 
carried on between the period of the Norman invasion and 
final subjugation of Wales, an intercourse must have 
taken place between that country and England sufficient 

^ Ellis's " Early Metrical Romances," vol, i. p. 36. 

'-' At the present time opinions diametrically opposite are held about 
the importance of the early Welsh traditions as a factor in the Romances 
of Chivalry. While Herr Schulz says that the poems of Aneurin, 
Taliessin, Hyw^arch, Meradin, &c., offer a dii'ect reflection of the person 
of Arthur, Mr. Nash, with far deeper scholarship and sounder judgment, 
says, it is by no means clear that the Welsh had ever heard of Arthur 
as a king before the twelfth century, when Rhys ap Tewdwr brought 
the roll of the Round Table to Glamorganshire. There is not, says 
the same authority, a single ancient poem extant which relates to any 
Avarlike feat of Arthur against the Saxons (Taliesin, p. 328). The 
poetical (with, I suppose, the triadic) was undoubtedly the earliest un- 
written form of Welsh literature. Now, Mr. W. D. Nash, in his 
Taliesin, or the Bards and Druids of Britain, etc., Lond. 1858, 
points (jut as an unparalleled phenomenon in literary history that 
the bards, minstrels, and singers, who teemed among the Welsh, 
have not handed down one single love-song or one tale of adven- 
ture ... in poetry. This has been done, however, in prose, hence he 
argues that such productions Avere a late foreign importation, and con- 
cludes that the Welsh probably derived more from, than they imparted 
to the Romantic literature of Europe. That the prose tales (in the 
Mabinogion, published by Lady Guest, new ed., London, 1877) contain 
many incidents which have a common origin with those found in the 
Romances of Chivalry is undeniable, but how far that pristine source is 
Celtic is far from determined. Mr. Matthew Arnold is willing to admit 
in the tales of the jNIabinogion a reflection of astronomical and solar 
myths. The personages in these tales, he saj's, " belong to an older 
pagan mythological world. The very flrst thing," he truly adds, " that 
strikes one in reading the Mabinogion is, how evidently the me- 
diaeval story-teller [the oldest manuscript of these tales is of the four- 
teenth century] is pillaging an antiquity of which he does not fully pos- 
sess the secret ; he is like a peasant building his hut on the site of Hali- 
carnassus or Ephesus : he builds, but what he builds is full of materials 
of Avhich he knows not the history." 


to account for the interchange of any literary materials. 
The British lays communicated to the French minstrels in 
EuL^lan<l were seldom committed to writing. Hence the 
same story was repeated with endless variations, and this 
system of traditional incident was added to the more 
stable relations contained in the chronicle of Geoffrey of 

It seems to be generally lielieved that French romances 
in rhyme appeared in England and Normandy previous to 
any attempt of this nature at the court of Paris. This is 
evinced by the more liberal patronage of the English 
princes, the style and character of the romances them- 
selves, and the persons to whom the poems were originally 

The oldest of these French metrical romances is one 
founded on the chronicle of Geoffrey of Monmouth, and 
entitled Le Brut :^ it was written in the year 1155, by 
Robert Wace, a native of Jersey, who brought down his 
work from the time of the imaginary Brutus to the death 
of Cadwallader, the sera where Geoffrey ends ; but it was 
subsequently carried on by Gaimar - and others to the age 
of William Rufus. Wace is also the author of Le Roman 
le Rou, a fabulous and metrical history of the Dukes of 
Nomiandy from the time of RoUo. These metrical his- 
tories soon introduced compositions professedly fictitious, 
in which the indefatigable Wace first led the way. The 
Chevalier au Lion* seems to be one of the earliest 
romances in rhyme which has descended to our knowledge. 
In the end of the twelfth and beginning of the thirteenth 

^ Gaimar is believed to have been the first who translated Geoffrey of 
Monmouth into any modern language. At all events he obtained a copy 
of the Historia Britonum for that purpose from Walter Espec. who 
died in 115:3. But Gaimars •" Brut,'' which was soon eclipsed by that 
of Wace (finished in 1155), has now disappeared, having been rejplaced 
by Wace"s composition in the four extant copies of the Estorie dcs 
Engles,see British Museum Catalogue of Manuscript Romances, compiled 
by H. L. ]). Ward, edited by E. M. Thompson, vol. i. p. 423. 

- Gaimar wrote before Wace, so could hardly have been his con 
tinuator. — Lieu. 

^ This poem is not by Wace, but by Chrestien de Troyes, For an 
account of Wace and his works, see J. G. T. Griisse's '• Lehrbuch ciner 
allgemeinen Literiirgeschichte."' etc., Bd. 2. Abth. ;>. p. 104 ef scq. — 



century, an infinite variety of French metrical romances 
on the subject of Arthur and his knights of the Round 
Table ^ appeared in England and Normandy, as the Sau- 
greal, Perceval, &c., written by Chrestien de Troyes, Menes- 
sier, and others. 

About the same period a great number of French 
romances, in which classical heroes are celebrated, were 
founded on the history of the Trojan war. Few of these, 
however, at least at an early period, were converted into 
prose, while the metrical romances relating to the Round 
Table, either from accident or from flattering the vanity 
and prejudices of a nation by the celebration of its fictitious 
heroes, have, for the most part, been reduced into jDrose, 
and constituted, thus transformed, a formidable compila- 
tion, which eame in time to supersede the metrical 

These prose romances, which form the j^roper subject of 

' " He [Arthur] made the round table for their behoue 

yt none of them shold sitt aboue." 

See The Green Knight, p. 224,1. 13, in Sir F. Madden's edition of" Syr 
Gawayne," 1839 : he adds, p. 353, '• the earliest authority for this tradi- 
tion is Wace, who inserts it in his translation of GeofFre}^ and adds that 
the round table was instituted by Arthur for the purpose of avoiding 
disputes of precedence among his knights." — See Le Koux de Lincy's 
edition of the Eoman de Brut, 1836, 1. 2, p. 74. Robert of Brunne trans- 
lates this literally in the inedited portion of his Chronicle [MS. Inner 
Temple Library, JSo. 511, fo. 62b.]. Lazamon goes further, and not only 
gives the history of the Table at much greater length, but adds the nar- 
rative (for which he cites no source) of a quarrel which was the more 
immediate occasion of the institution. An inedited Arthurian romance 
preserved in the Red Book of Bath of the fifteenth centui-y, contains 
some lines on this subject. 

Precedence at table Avas a point of great importance and matter of 
legislation with the Welsh. In the laws of Howel Dda, all the officers 
of the palace have their places in the hall specified, some having their 
seats above and some below the partition, which is supposed to have cor- 
responded with the dais still seen at the upper end of baronial halls. See 
Myv. Ai-ch. 2nd ed. ii. p. 104, etc See also the account of Celtic 
banquets, by Posidonius, in Athenseus Naucratita, Deipnosophistse, Lib. 
iv. c. 32. "Orav Sk TrXeioveg avvdeiTri'uxnv, >cd^i)VTai jiev tv kvkXoj. fieaog 
ds Kpc'iTKTTOQ djQ CIV Kopv(pdiog x^P^w, Siacptpujv Tiov dX\u)v i'j Kara Tr\v 
7ro\sixiK)]v tvxf.pfiav, ?/ Kara to y'tvoc, ?'/ Kara ttXovtov, etc. 

Prom Britany the Institution of the Round Table or, at least, its tra 
dition, was introduced into Celtic Britain by Rhys ap Tewdur, see Nash, 
Taliesin, p. 198. 


our enquiry, were mostly written in the course of the 
thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries. It is ex- 
tremely difficult, however, to ascertain the precise date of 
the composition of each, or to point out the authors by 
whom they were written. 

The data by which we might attempt to fix the chronology 
of the prose romances, and which, at first view, would 
appear to be at once easy and certain, are, 1. The antiquity 
of the language ; 2. The manners represented ; since in 
ancient romances a delineation is given not of the customs, 
ceremonies, or dress of the period in which the imaginary 
heroes are feigned to have existed, but of those which pre- 
vailed at the time of the composition of the work. The 
tournaments in particular, with a description of which 
every romance is filled, should assist in this research. 
Thus, at the institution of these spectacles, the persons 
who had been long admitted into the order of chivalry con- 
tended during the first day, and the new knights on the 
succeeding ones. In process of time the new knights opened 
the tournament, and the squires were allowed to joust 
with them, but at length the distinctions which had 
formerly existed between the knight and the squire became, 
in a great measure, confounded. The light, however, that 
might naturally be expected to be drawn hence, has been 
darkened by the authors of the prose romances having 
servilely copied, in some instances, their metrical i^roto- 
types, and thus, without warning, represented the manners 
of a preceding age. In most instances, I believe, the prose 
romances were accommodated to the opinions and manners 
subsisting at the period of this new fabrication ; but it is 
impossible to say with certainty what has been adopted 
and what is original. 3. The name of the person to whom 
the romance is addressed, or at whose solicitation it is said 
to be written, may be of use in ascertaining the date. But 
the authors title their patrons in so general a way, that the 
inference to be drawn is vague and uncertain. Their works 
are written at the desire of King Henry or King Edward 
of England, and hence the period of their composition is 
only limited to the reign of one of the numerous monarchs 
who bore these names. 4. The date of the publication 
may be of assistance in fixing the chronology of some of 

I. L 


the later romances of chivalry. But even this trifling aid 
is in most instances denied, the earliest impression being 
generally without date. Hence I am afraid that these 
data will be found, in most cases, to afford but feeble and 
uncertain assistance. 

With respect to the authors of the jDrose romances, it 
may be in the first place remarked, that these compositions 
were not announced to the reader as works of mere imagi- 
nation, but, on the contrary, were always affirmed by their 
authors (who threw much opprobrium on the lying metrical 
romances), to contain matter of historical fact. Nor was 
this doubted by the simplicity of the readers ; and the 
fables which had been disbelieved while in verse, were 
received without suspicion on their conversion into prose. 
Hence it became the interest of the real authors, in order 
to give their works the stamp of authority, to abjure 
the metrical romances, from which they were in fact com- 
piled, and to feign either that these fables had been trans- 
lated by them from Latin, or revised from ancient French 
l^rose, in which they had been originally written, — aver- 
ments which should never be credited unless otherwise 
established to be true. Indeed, some writers, though theirs 
is not the general view, have supposed that this system of 
mendacity was carried still farther, and that fictitious 
names were generally assumed by the real authors.^ 


The demons, alarmed at the number of victims which 
daily escaped their fangs since the birth of our Saviour, 
held a council of war. It was there resolved that one of 
their number should be sent to the world with instructions 
to engender on some virgin a child,^ who might act as 

^ Ritson, Ancient Entjlish Metrical Romances, vol. i. p. 45. 

2 Sensuyt le pmier volume de Merlin. Qui est le premier liure de la 
Table ronde. Avec plusieurs choses moult recreatiue. P. le Noir, 
Paris, 1528. See supp. note. 

^ Cf. Tobit, iii. 8, etc., and vi. 13, 14, etc. See also, infra, the story 
of Beli)hagor by Macchiavelli, and the Oriental Saga of the angels 
Harut and Marut, in the commentators on (Sura, ii. 96) the Koran. In 
the Chronicle of Philippe Mouskes, Bishop of Tournai, a diabolical 

CH. III.] MERLIN. 147 

their vieei^erent on earth, and thus counteract the great 
plan that had been laid for the salvation of mankind. 
With this view the infernal deputy, having assumed a 
human form, insinuated himself into the confidence, and 
obtained admittance into the house, of a wealthy Briton 
[i. fol. 1, Paris, 1528]. The fiend (though this was foreign 
from the purpose of his mission), could not resist embracing 
an early opportunity of strangling his host, and then pro- 
ceeded to attempt the seduction of his three daughters, 
which was more peculiarly an object of his terrestrial 
sojourn. The youngest of the family alone resisted his 
artifices [i. fol. 4], but she at length experienced the fate 
of her sisters, while rendered unconscious by sleep. On 
awakening, she was much perplexed by what had occurred, 
and confessed herself to a holy man called Blaise, who had 
all along been her protector, but who acknowledged him- 
self altogether incompetent to account for the events of 
the preceding night [i. f. 5]. 

The judges of the land, who soon after discovered the 
pregnancy of the young lady, were about to condemn her 
to death [i. f. 6], according to the law and custom of the 
country ; ^ but Blaise represented that the execution should 

origin is attributed to Eleonora of Aquitaine, who espoused Louis-le- 
Jeune, King of France, and J. Brompton has preserved (Hist. Franc, 
xiii. 215) a similar legend, and in the Livre de Baudouin (p. 13) Com- 
tesse Jeanne de Flandre is supposed to be a daughter of the evil spirit. 
See Reiffenberg, Introduction to Chronicle of Philippe de Mouskes, 
p. Ixviii. See supp. note. 

' In another old romance, a regulation of this sort is said to have 
existed in France. " C'estoit la coustume, en ce tems, telle, que quand 
une femme estoit grosse, que ce n'estoit de son Mari, ou qu'elle ne fust 
raariee, on I'ardoit." (L. Hist, plaisante du noble Siperis de Vinevaulx 
et de ses dix sept fils.) In the Orlando Furioso this punishment is at- 
tributed to the law of Scotland ; 

" L'aspralegge di Scoziaempia e severa " (C. iv. st. 59, 1. 425 Chalmers). 

Ilinaldo on hearing of it, exclaims with indignation, 

'•' Sia maladetto chi tal legge pose, 

F, maladetto chi la puo patire ; 

Debitamcnte muore una Crudele, 

Xon chi da vita al suo amator fidele " (C. iv. st. 63). 

See also Jubinal, Nouv. Kec, i. 9. In later times, at all events, the 
laws were milder, under Saint Louis disinheritance was the punishment 
for filJe noble qui s'est laissee engrosser. In Maine and Anjou, " les fiiles 


be at least deferred, as the child who was about to come 
into the world ought not to be involved in the punish- 
ment of the mother. The criminal was accordingly shut 
up in a tower, where she gave birth to the celebrated 
Merlin/ whom Blaise instantly hurried to the baptismal 
font, and thus frustrated the hopes of the demons when 
on the verge of completion [i. f. 7]. Merlin, however, in 
spite of this timely redemption, retained many marks of 

qui aA'aient atteint vingt-cinq ans pouvoient impiinement devenir en- 
ceintes. La coutume alors donnoit tort aux parents ; elle supposoit que 
c'etoit leur faute, puisquils avoient attendu si tard a marier leurs filles." 
See Le Grand d'Aussy's note to the Fabliau du Voleur que Notre Dame 
Sauva. — LiEB. 

In Scotland a distinction is made between Notour and simple adultery. 
Notour is when the guilt}- parties live openly at bed and board and 
beget children. By a statute, 1551, c. 26, this crime was punished by loss 
of movables ; but afterwards by an act in 1563, cap. 74, it was rendered 
capital ; and during the seventeenth century in particular, several persons 
were actually executed for adultery. See the Edinburgh Encyclopfedia, 
ed. by Sir I). Brewster, 1830, art. Adultery, where an account will be 
found of punishments for adultery, which were in many countries very 
severe. At Harlem, in Holland, is shown a kind of barrel open at either 
end, in which oflfendersagainst public morals were drawn through the town. 
In England " carting " was a punishment meted out to brothel-keepers. 
For instance, on Nov. 23rd, 1575, Elizabeth Hollande was sentenced to 
" be put into a carte at Newgate and be carted with a paper on her hed 
shewinge her offence from thence to Smythfeilde, from thence to her 
howse, from thence to Cornehill, fi'om thence to the Standerd in Cheepe, 
from thence to Bridewell, and all the way basons to be runge before her, 
at Bridewell to be punished, and from thence to be brought to Newgate, 
there to remaine untill she have payed a fine of xl. li and put in sewerties 
for the same, and to be bounde for her good behaviour." On the first 
of January following Prudence Crispe was sentenced " to be had to 
Newgate and ther to be put into a carte, from thence to be carted to 
Smithefeilde, from thence to her howse, from thence to Cornehill, and 
Irom thence to the Standard in Cheepe, so to Bridewell, then to be 
whipped, then to Newgate, and fined at xl. li. and to be bound to her 
goode behaviour." (Middlesex Sessions Rolls. Published by the Middle- 
sex County Kecords Society, vol. i. pp. 234, 235.) 

^ Surnamed Ambrose, and not to be confounded with a Merlin whose 
epoch is about a century later, and who is surnamed Wyllt (Silvester) 
and Calidonius (or perhaps more accurately Celidonius from the wood 
Kelidon or Celydon in Lincolnshire, or, according to Stuart Glennie 
(Arthurian Localities, p. Ixxv*) part of the Ettrick forest in the Scottish 
border to which he retired stricken by insanity). Both Merlins are, 
however, frequently confounded with each other. See Graesse, Sagen- 
kreise, p. 197, etc. ; also San Marte Arthursage, p. 87, etc. ; and Ville- 
marque, Contes Populaires des Anciens Bretons, i. 42, etc. — Lieb. 

CH. III.] MERLIN. 149 

his unearthly orij^iu, of which his premature elocution 
afforded an early and unequivocal symptom. Immediately 
after his baptism, the mother took the child in her arms, 
and reproached him as the cause of the melancholy death 
she was about to suffer. But the infant smiling to her, 
replied. Fear not, my mother, you will not die on my 
account. Accordingly the prosecution being resumed, and 
Merlin, the corpus delicti, being produced in court, he 
addressed the judges, and revealed the illegitimacy of one 
of their number, who was not the son of his reputed 
father, but of a Prior ; and who thus, out of regard to 
his own mother, was forced to prevent the condemnation of 
Merlin's [i. f. 11]. 

At this time there reigned in Britain a king called 
Constans, who had three sons, Moines, Pendi-agon, and 
liter. ^ Moines, soon after his accession, which happened 
on the death of his father, was vanquished by the Saxons 
[i. f. 13], in consequence of being deserted by his seneschal 
Yortiger, formerly the chief support of his throne. Grow- 
ing unpopular, through misfortune, he w^as soon after 
killed by his subjects, and the traitor Vortiger chosen in 
his place [i. f. 14]. 

As this newly-elected monarch was in constant dread of 
the preferable claims of liter and Pendragon, the sur- 
viving sons of Constans, he began to construct a strong 
tower for defence. This bidwark, however, three times 
fell to the ground without any apparent cause, when 
brought by the workmen to a certain height. The king 
consulted seven astronomers on this phenomenon in archi- 
tecture. These sages having studied the signs, avowed to 
each other that they could not solve the mystery. But in 
the course of their observations they had incidentally dis- 
covered that their lives were threatened by a child, who 
had lately come into the world without the intervention of 
a mortal father. Tliey therefore resolved to deceive the 
king, in order to secure their own safety ; ^ and announced 
to him, as the result of their calculations, that the edifice 

' In Geoffrey of ^loniiiouth, Ilistoria Britonum (vi. 7), Constans 
has two infant brothers, Uther Tendragon and Aurelius Arabrosius. 
Their father was Constantine. ^ Cf. Matth. ii. 


would abide by the ordinary rules of architecture if the 
blood of a child of this genealogy were shed on the first 
stone of the foundation.^ 

Though the king could not doubt the efficacy of this ex- 
pedient, his plans were not much promoted by the response, 
for the difficulty was to find a child of this anomalous 
lineage. That nothing, however, might be wanting on his 
part, he despatched messengers over all the kingdom [i. f. 
17]. Two of his emissaries fell in with certain children 
who were playing at cricket.^ Merlin was of the party, and, 
having divined the cause of their search, instantly made 
himself known to them. When brought before the king, 
he informed his majesty of the imjDOsition of the astro- 
logers, and showed that the instability of the tower was 
occasioned by two immense dragons which had fixed their 
residence under it, and, being rivals, shook its foundation 
with their mighty combats [i. f. 22]. The king invited 
all his barons to an ensuing contest announced by Merlin. 
Workmen having dug to an immense depth below the 
tower, discovered the den of these monsters, who gratified 
the court with the exhibition that was expected. The red 
dragon was totally defeated by his white oj^ponent, and 
only survived for three days the effects of this terrible 

These animals, however, had not been solely created for 
the amusement of the court, for, as Merlin afterwards ex- 
plained [i. f. 25], they typified in the most unequivocal 
manner the invasion of liter and Pendragon,^ the surviving 
brothers of Moines. These two princes had escaped into 
Britany on the usurpation of Yortiger, but now made a 
descent upon England. Yortiger was defeated in a great 
battle, and afterwards burned alive in the castle he had 
taken such pains to construct [i. f. 31]. 

On the death of Yortiger, Pendragon ascended the throne. 
This prince had great confidence in the wisdom of Merlin, 
who became his chief adviser, and frequently entertained 
the king, while he astonished his brother liter, who was 

^ See supp. note. Merlin ; see infra, i. pp. 156, 157. 
^ "Ilz virenten ung chap iing tropeau de garcons qui sesbatoyent & 
iouoyent a la crosse." 
3 See note, p. 12G. 

CH. III.] MERLIN. 151 

not aware of liis qualifications, by his skill in necromancy 

About this time a dreadful war arose between the Saxons 
and Britons. Merlin obliged the royal brothers to swear 
fidelity to each other, but foretold that one of the two must 
fall in the first battle [i. f. 36]. The Saxons were totally 
routed in the fight, and Pendragon, having fulfilled the 
prediction of Merlin, was succeeded by Titer, who now as- 
sumed, in addition to his own name, the appellation of 
Pendragon [i. f. 38]. 

Merlin still continued a court favourite. At the request 
of Titer he transported by magic art enormous stones from 
Ireland to form the sepulchre of Pendragon ; and next 
proceeded to Carduel, (Carlisle,) to prepare the Round 
Table,' at which he seated fifty or sixty of the first nobles 
in the countrv, leaving an empty place for the Sangreal 
[i. f. 40, etc.].* 

^ The prototype of this table was that which Joseph of Arimathia at 
Christ's command established, and which in its turn was analogous to 
the one at which Christ had sat with his Apostles at the Last Supper. 
In the Metrical San Graal, however, a square table is mentioned, 

'•' Ou non de cele table quier, (1. 2491 ) 
Uiie autre, et fei appareiller.'' 

Uter Pendragon's Round Table was subsequently revived. With 
refei-ence to still later renewals of the round table (namely, by Edward 
the Confessor in 1043, see Graesse Sagenkrcise, p. 149, 150, where fur- 
ther the names of all the knights are given, and notices of round tables in 
other countries), see Chenu, Kecueil des Antiquitez de Bourges, Paris, 
1621. There was an order of Knights of the Pound Table at Bourges. 

The Pound Table, says Schmidt (Wiener Jahrbuch., vol. 29, p. 86), 
secures the personage whose duty it is to allot the places from the embar- 
rassment arising from rival claims to precedence on the part of the ban- 
queters, as all seats are equal. This was accordingly a patent reason 
which might suggest to princes the expedient of a round table for the 
Pares Pegni. The custom had been adopted among the Gauls for this 
reason ; according to Posidonius (see supra, p. 144, note), however, the 
exact opposite, viz., that the sitters took their places in accordance with 
their rank and distinction, nor does he make any allusion whatever to 
trials of skill as taking place after the banquets, as Villcmarque (Contcs 
pop. des anc. Bret. i. 40) erroneously states. — Lieb. 

A round table with an order of knights thereto pertaining was founded 
by Theodoric, king of the East Goths, according to Aurclius Cassio- 
dorus [variar. libri xii.], Wiener Jahrb., Bd. ix. 1^25, p. 85. In the Saga 
of Dietrich, the Czar C'artaus is also made to institute a knightly round 
table. See Graesse, Bd. ii. Abth. 3. p. 150. 


Soon after this institution the king invited all his barons 
to the celebration of a great festival, which he proposed 
holding annually at Carduel [i. f. 42]. 

As the knights had obtained permission from his majesty 
to bring their ladies along with them, the beautiful 
Ygueme accompanied her husband,^ the Duke of Tintadiel, 
to one of these anniversaries. The king became deeply 
enamoured of the duchess, and revealed his passion to 
Ulfinus or TJlfin,^ one of his counsellors. Yguerne with- 
stood all the inducements which TJlfin held forth to pre- 
possess her in favour of his master, and ultimately dis- 
closed to her husband the attachment and solicitations of 
the monarch. On hearing this, the duke instantly removed 
from court with Yguerne, and without taking leave of 
Titer. The king complained of this want of duty to his 
council, who decided that the duke should be summoned 
to court, and if refractory should be treated as a rebel. 
As he refused to obey the citation [i. f . 45], the king carried 
war into the estates of his vassal, and besieged him in the 
strong castle of Tintadiel,^ in which he had shut himself up. 
Yguerne was confined in a fortress at some distance, which 
was still more secure. During the siege, Ulfin informed 
his master that he had been accosted by an old man, who 
promised to conduct the king to Yguerne, and had offered 
to meet him for that purpose on the following morning. 
Uter proceeded with Ulfin to the rendezvous. In an old 
blind man, whom they found at the appointed place, they 
recognized the enchanter Merlin, who had assumed that 
appearance : he bestowed on the king the form of the Duke 
of Tintadiel, while he endowed himself and Ulfin vritli the 
figures of his grace's two squires. Fortified by this triple 

^ Gorlais by name. In a mythological poem of the Welsh bardTalies- 
sin is narrated how Uter Pendragon (Uter Dragon-Head) became a wolf, 
Welsh gorlais, to beget Arthur, and Gorlais is the name of Yguerne's 
spouse, and thus the origin of this Welsh myth, which is perhaps, not 
as Dunlop supposes, derived from the story of Jupiter and Alcmena. 
(See Villemarque, Contes pop. des a. Bi'et., i. 18, 54.) 

^ See Appendix, No. 1. 

^ Some vestiges of the castle of Tintadiel, or Tintagel, remain on a 
rocky peninsula of prodigious declivity towards the sea, on the northern 
coast of Cornwall. [These " vestiges '' consisted chiefly of work of the 
early Norman period, though a small amount of Roman masonry has 
been found. — H. Jenner.] 

CH. III.] MERLIN. 153 

metamorphosis, tliev proceeded to the residence of Yguerne, 
who, imconscioiis of the deceit, received the king as her 
hushand [i. f. 48]. 

This deception has been evidently suggested by the 
classical storv of Jupiter and Alcmena [see supp. note]. The 
duke corresponds to Amphytrion, and Merlin to the Mer- 
cury of mythology ; while Arthur, who, as we shall find, 
was the fruit of the amour, holds the same rank in the 
romantic as Hercules in the heroic ages. 

The fraud of Merlin was not detected, and the war con- 
tinued to be prosecuted by liter with the utmost vigour. 
At length the duke was killed in battle, and the king, by 
the advice of Merlin, espoused Ygueme. Soon after the 
marriage she gave birth to Arthur, whom she believed to 
be the son of her former husband, as Uter had never com- 
municated to her the story of his assumed appearance 
[i. f. 57]. 

After the death of Uter [i. f. 57], there was an interreg- 
num in England, as it was not known that Arthur was his 
son. This prince, however, was at length chosen king, in 
consequence of having unfixed, from a miraculous stone, ^ 
a sword which two hundred and one of the most valiant 

^ Et quant il fut jiisques a I'evangille [of the Cbi'istmas mass], & elle 
fut chantee aulcuns de scs chevaliers & des gens qui oyoient sa messe 
yssirent bors de I'eglise. Si virent que il fut presque lour & trouverent 
devant le portail de Teglise une place ou il y avoit uug perron de trois 
carreaux mais ilz ne sceurent oncques a dire de quelle pierre ilz estoyent 
furs que aucuns disoient que cestoit marbre, et sur ce perron avoit au 
meilleu une enclume de fer bien large environ de demy pied de hault. 
Et dedans ceste enclume avoit une espee lichee iusques du perron, et 
quant ceulx de Feglise veirent ce si eurent grans merveilles de veoir ce 
perron . . . Larcevesque brice . . . vint ... & veit Tespoe au parmy toute 
debout et unes Icttres escriptes dor sur I'espee (jui disoient ainsi cestui 
qui tira Tespee hurs de son lieu fcra roy de ceste terre ])ar Tadmunition 
de ihesiis." (Fol. Iviii, vol. i. of the Merlin. Paris, 1528) 

Theseus, the Athenian hero, had to take from beneath a stone the sword 
placed tliereunder by his lather. In northern mythology Odin drives 
his sword up to its hilt in an oak. Sigmund draws it out. Ordeals 
were abolislu'd by the Fourth Council of Lateran, 1215. The account of 
the sword in Lancelot is somewhat different. It was called Excalibur, 
more pi'operly Escalibur, the Ct-ltic languages not admitting the x sound, 
a conjectural etymology compounds the name of the Celtic words t^gaile, 
bright, Haming, or sgal, a champion, and />or, noble. Caliburn, as the 
sword is sometimes called, lias been derived irom call, and cailleachd, 
noble, and buircan, a loud sound. 


barons in the realm had been singly unable to extract 
[i. f. 58]. At the beginning of his reign, Arthur was en- 
gaged in a civil war, as the mode of his election, however 
judicious, was disapproved by some of the barons ; and 
when he had at length overcome his domestic enemies, he 
had long wars to sustain against the Gauls and Saxons 
[i. f. 79, 82, etc]. 

In all these contests the art of Merlin was of great ser- 
vice to Arthur, as he changed himself into a dwarf, a harp 
player, or a stag, as the interest of his master required ; or, 
at least, threw on the bystanders a spell to fascinate their 
eyes, and cause them to see the thing that was not. The 
notion of these transformations seems to have been sug- 
gested by the power ascribed in classical times to Proteus 
and Vertumnus, 

Nunc equa, nunc ales, modo bos, modo cervus abibat. 

On one occasion Merlin made an expedition to Rome, 
entered the king's palace in the shape of an enormous stag, 
and in this character delivered a formal harangue, to the 
utter amazement of one called Julius Caesar, not the Julius 
whom the knight Mars killed in his pavilion, but him 
whom Gauvain slew because he had defied king Arthur 
[ii. f. 19]. 

At length this renowned magician disappeared entirely 
from England. His voice alone was heard in a forest, 
where he was enclosed in a bush of hawthorn ; he had been 
entrapped in this awkward residence by means of a charm 
he had communicated to his mistress Yivlian or Viviane,^ 
who, not believing in the spell, had tried it on her lover. 
The lady was sorry for the accident, but there was no ex- 
tracting her admirer from his thorny coverture. 

The earliest edition of this romance was printed at Paris, 
in three volumes folio, 1498 ; this imjDression, which has 
become extremely rare, was followed by another in quarto 
(1528), which is much less esteemed than the other, but is 
also exceedingly scarce. 

Though seldom to be met with, the Roman de Merlin is 
one of the most curious romances of the class to which it 

' See note on Vivian in J. S. Stuart Glennie's " Arthurian Locali- 
ties,"' p. Ixxiii*. 

CH. III.] MERLIN. 165 

belongs/ It comprehends all the events connected with 
the life of the enchanter from his supernatural birth to his 
magical disappearance, and embraces a longer period of 
interesting fabulous history, than most of the works of 
chivalry. Some of the incidents are entertaining, and no 
part of the narrative is complicated. Yguerne, though she 
appears but for a short while, is a more interesting female 
character than is usually portrayed in romances of chivalry. 
The passion of Titer for this lady, which is well described, 
is by much the most interesting part of the work ; and 
though the marvellous pervades the whole production, it is 
not carried to such an extravagant length as in the tales 
of the Round Table, by which it was succeeded. The 
language, which is very old French, is remarkable for its 
beauty and simplicity : Indeed, the romance bears every- 
where the marks of very high antiquity. It has been 
generally attributed to Robert de Borron, to whom so 
many other works of the same nature have been assigned. 
The author lived in the time of Henry III. and Edward I., 
as Rusticien de Pise, who lived during these reigns, calls 
him, in his prologue to Meliadus, his companion in arms. 

But, great as the antiquity of the romance no doubt is, 
its author can lay but little claim to originality of invention. 
Most of the incidents appear in the chronicle of Geoffrey 
of Monmouth, from which they were transferred into the 
romance through the medium of the Brut, a metrical 
version of that fabulous history, written by Wace. (See 
supra, pp. 140, 143.) 

The notion of procreating demons, which forms the 
basis of the romance, and accounts for Merlin's super- 
natural powers, seems to have been taken from the Vita 
Merlini, the Life of the Scotch " Merlin, by Geoffrey of 
Monmouth : 

Et sibi miiltotiens ex aere corpore sumpto 
Nobis apparent, et plurima saej)e sequuntur ; 
Quin etiam coitu mulieres airgrediuntur, 
Et faeiunt gravidas, generantes more profano. 

It would appear from Joceliii's Life of St. Kentigern, the 

' It has been published for the Early English Text Society. 
^ Or rather Caljdonian. (See note 2, p. 148.) 


accoTint of whose birth resembles that of Merlin/ that our 
grandmothers were frequently subject to nocturnal attacks 
of the nature described in the romance ; " audivimus fre- 
quenter sumptis transfigiis puellarem pudicitiam expug- 
natam esse, ipsamque defloratam corruptorem sui minime 
nosse. Portuit aliquid hujusmodi huic puellse accidisse." ^ 
Yet, perhaps, the account of the birth and early part of 
the life of Merlin may be traced to a yet more ancient and 
venerable source.^ 

At an early period the story of Merlin became current 
and popular in most of the countries in Europe. The 
French romance, of which we have given an abstract, was 
translated into Italian by Antonio Tedeschi, a Venetian, 
and was written by him while in the prison of Florence, 
where he was confined for debt. The history of Merlin 
appeared also in English, in a metrical form,^ in which the 
incidents are nearly the same with those in the French 
romance. [Ellis, Specimens of Early Metrical E-omances, 
i. 205, where a summary will be found, p. 75]. 

Merlin is frequently introduced in the subsequent tales 
of chivalry, but chiefly on great occasions, and at a period 
subsequent to his death, or magical disaj^pearance. He 
has also found his way into the English metrical version 
of the Seven Wise Masters. [It is called " the Proces of 
the Sevyn Sages," see Weber, English Metrical Eomances, 
vol. iii. iJ. 91 ; and Ellis, Specimens, vol. iii.] Herowdes, 

' See Merlin and Kentigern, Blackwood's Magazine, December, 1885. 

2 Pinkcrton's " Vitae Antiqua?,'" Lond. 1789, p. 200, ap. Ellis's " Spe- 
cimens," p. 211, vol. i. A curions tradition of this sort is i*elated in 
Boethius' '' Historia Scotorum," Paris, 1574, 1, viii. 149. See, infra, note 
to Huon of Bordeaux. 

^ Tobit, iii. 8, etc., and vi. 13, 14, etc. Upon this subject see also 
Dobeneck, Des Deutschen Mittelalters Volksglauben, i. 28, etc. ; Boais- 
tuau, Histoires pi-odigieuses, ch. vii. ; Caes. Heisterbach, Mirac. et 
Hist., iii. 6, 7, 8, 9; Wolf, Niederland. Sagen, No. 105; Scheible 
Kloster, v. 197, etc. ; the Story of the Prankish King Clodio, Grimm, 
Teutonic Mythology, p. 391 (364 of Ger. ed. 1843, Gottingen) ; Kaspar 
vonder Ron's "Heldenbuch, the Story of the Meerwunder;" also Dietrich 
of Bern's Descent ; W. Grimm, Deutsche Helden Sage, p. 294, No. 9. See 
also, infra, note, on the storj^ of Count Baldwin of Planders. — Lteb. 

■* Leland (Commentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicis, A. Hall's edition, 
i. p. 191) puts this poem among the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth. 
Mr. Ward, who discusses its authorship at some length, is favourable to 
this ascription. See Ward's Cat. i. pp. 279-286. 

CH. III.] MERLIN. 157 

emperor of R<^>nie, had seven sages iu his council, who 
abused the confidence reposed in them by their master. 
This emperor, while one day preparing to go on a hunting 
party, is suddenly struck blind ; — the wise men are con- 
voked, and ordered to account for his majesty's obstructed 
vision. They are forced to confess that they are unpre- 
pared with an answer, but are afterwards advised by an 
old man to consult the invisible Merlin. Two of their 
number are sent on this errand, who find out the enchanter 
with great difficulty, and bring him to the king. Merlin 
is prepared with a prescription, and informs his majesty 
that nothing more is necessary to obtain complete restora- 
tion to sight, than striking oft' the heads of his seven sages. 
Herowdes, delighted to find that his cure could be so 
cheaply purchased, caused his counsellors to be successively 
beheaded, and the recovery of his sight coincided with the 
decapitation of his last minister. 

Nor have the fables connected with Merlin been confined 
to idle tales or romances of chivalry, but have contributed 
to the embellishment of the finest productions. In the 
romantic poems of Italy, and in Spenser, Merlin is chiefly 
represented as a magical artist. The fountain of love ^ in 

^ It is rather the fountain of oblivion : — 

" This Fountaine more then wondrous for delight, 

AVas carvde with Alabaster passino^ fine, 
Set out with gold, adorning it so bright. 

As all the Meadow sun-like made to shine : 
Merlin it built, (a famous conjuring Wight) 
Because worthie Sir Tristram at that time 

Drinking thereof, should leave that lovely Queene, 
Who was in th'end his utter mine seen." — St. 34. 
— Bcjardo's " Orlando Innamorato," the three first Books . . . trans- 
lated by K. T[oft]. Lond., 1598. 

In antiquity, a similar power was attributed to the River Selemnos, 
Pausan. vii. 123, 2. — Lieu. 

*' This Spring was one of those four fountains rare, 
Of those in France produced by Merlin's sleight; 
Encompassed round about with marble fair. 

Shining and polished, and than milk more white. 
There in the stone's choice figures chisseled were, 

By that magician's god-like labour dight ; 
Some voice was was wanting, these you might have thought 
Were living and with nerve and spirit fraught." 
— Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, canto xxvi., st. 30, Rose's translation. 


the Orlando Innamorato [1. 3.], is said to have been the 
work of Merlin ; and in the 26th canto of the Orlando 
Furioso, there is described a fountain, one of four which 
the enchanter formed in France. It was of the purest 
marble, on which coming events were portrayed in the 
finest sculpture. In the same poem, Bradamante arrives 
one night at the lodge of Tristan (Eocca di Tristano), 
where she is conducted into a hall adorned with prophetic 
paintings, which demons had executed in a single night 
under the direction of Merlin. 

In the third canto of the Rinaldo, the knight of that 
name arrives with Isolero at two equestrian statues ; the 
one of Lancelot, the other of Tristan, both sculptured by 
the art of Merlin. Sj^enser represents Merlin as the 
artificer of the impenetrable shield, and other armour of 
Prince Arthur [Faery Queene, b. i. c. 7. st. 33-36], and of 
a mirror in which a damsel viewed her lover's shade. But 
Merlin had nearly obtained still higher distinction, and was 
on the verge of being raised to the summit of fabulous 
renown. The greatest of our poets, it is well known, 
before fixing on a theme more worthy of his genius, in- 
tended to make the fabulous history of Britain the subject 
of an epic poem, as he himself announces in his Epitaphium 
Damonis [v. 162, etc.] : — 

Ipse ego Dardanias Kutupina per aequora piippes 
Dicam, et Paudrasidos regnum vetus Inogeniae, 
Brennumque Arviragumque duces, priscumque Belinum, 
Et tandem Armoricos Britonum sub lege colonos j 
Turn gravidam Arturo fatali fraude Ibgernen, 
Mendaces vultus assumptaque Gorlois arma 
Merlini dolus. ^ 

It has been mentioned, in the abstract just given of the 
romance of Merlin, that when the magician, who is the 
chief character in the work, prepared the round table at 
Carduel, he left a place vacant for the St. Graal, or Holy 
Vessel brought to Britain by Joseph of Arimathea. Its 
quest is the most fertile source of adventures to the knights 
of the Eound Table. 

Derived " from the most varied sources reflecting most 

1 Cf. Milton's " Mansus," v. 80. 

2 From this point to the Perceval, p. 172 is by the present Editor. 

CH. III.] MERLIN. 159 

opposite charcicteristics, modified to suit their contempora- 
ries by successive copyists, and loosely linked on one to 
another, the Romances of the Round Table, or Arthurian 
Cycle, present rather a motley patchwork than a sequential 
combination. That they embody elements of vitality is 
best evidenced by the fact that they afforded a fruitful theme 
for the most renowned productions of those dialects of 
Europe which were then crystallizing into the chief lan- 
guages of the West ; that they powerfully aided the sur- 
vival of the dialects reserved for this destiny ; and, that in 
our own day, as in the past, they supply subjects for some 
of the greatest pens in literature. 

They comprise not only elements, but tendencies the 
most diverse, and the conjunction must, at least viewed from 
the standpoint of modem criticism, I think, on the whole, 
be admitted to be crude, violent, and incongruous. We 
find too often unintelligibly and unsatisfactorily associated 
with the incidents of the story cloudy reminiscences of a 
Celtic heroic age and mythology, vague echoes of Celtic 
struggles with other Aryan peoples that in G-reat Britain 
and Little Britain alike were ever pressing the Kymri 
westwards from their lands. These again are mingled 
with episodes of knightly daring and generous dealing, 
while a lax morality — the reflex, perhaps, of pagan liberty 
or troubadour licence — alternates with strivings after high 
Christian ideals. 

To all this is superadded an element not only Christian, 
but mystical and ascetical, of clearly ecclesiastical origin ; 
it is made to seiwe indeed in some sort as a connecting 
thread between the romances of the Graal, Merlin, the 
Quest of the Graal, Lancelot of the Lake, and Morte 
Arthur, and yet appears as a somewhat alien and incon- 
gruous interpolation, and may have been introduced as 
an antidote to the immorality prevailing through many 
2^arts of the cycle. This mystical element is embodied 
in the 

Romance of the Graal,^ 

which is usually placed at the head of the group of 
romances above specified, su2)plying the place of an intro- 

' See supp. note, and appendix No. 2. 


duct ion without wliicli tliej are incomplete. Tlie opening 
portion of the Graal legend is clearly traceable to very- 
early sources, and the whole story has been indefinitely 
varied by Chrestien de Troyes, Menessier, Wolfram von 
Eschenbach, Albrecht von Scharfenberg, Robert de Thorn- 
ton, Lonelich, and other mediaeval poets. Tlie oldest literary 
composition, however, in which the story has come down 
to us, and which is more immediately the groundwork of 
these romances, appears to be the Joseph of Arimathea or 
Short G-raal, generally ascribed to and ostensibly written by 
Robert de Borron,^ a trouvere and sort of secretary attached 
to Gautier de Montfaucon. Of this work in a metrical 
dress, which was probably Borron's form of composition, 
one MS." of the late thirteenth century alone is known. 
Several MSS. of the same work in prose are extant, and 
their interconcordance shows them to contain a text not 
widely differing from the original production. 

It should, however, be stated that it has been inferred 
from allusions in Wolfram von Eschenbach's " Parzival,'* 
composed early in the thirteenth, that in the preceding 
century a French trouvere, Guyot, was the first to compose 
on the subject of the Graal a poem, now lost, which supi^lied 
the basis not only of Wolfram's " Parzival," but of the 
Perceval-le-Gallois left unfinished by Chretien de Troyes, 
who flourished in the same century, as well as of Borron's 
and all subsequent compositions on the same theme. 

Borron winds up the poem by saying he would fain 
follow up the adventures of Alain and Petrus, two of the 
personages, but believes no one could do so without know- 
ing the Great History of the Graal, which at the time of 
writing had never been reproduced by mortal hand [from 
the divinely written volume of which more anon]. 

A ce tems que je la retreis, 
O mon Seigneur Gautier en peis 
Qui de Montbelial esteit, 
Uncques retreite este n'aveit 
La grant estoire dou graal, 
Par nul home qui fut mortal. 

^ See Huclier, Le Saint-Graal, tome i., p. 368, etc. 

2 Published by F. Michel, Bordeaux, 1841, 300 copies, reprinted at 
the end of vol. i. of Lonelich's " Seynt Graal/' by the Roxburghe Club. 


And further announces his intention of collecting or com- 
Inning the remaining histories, if he can get access to the 
hook containing them, and since puhlished as M. Paulin 
Paris interprets. 

Mais je fais bicn a tons savoir 
Qui cest livre vourront avoir 
Que se Dicu me donne sant6 
Kt vie, bien ai volente 
De ces parties assembler 
Se en livre les puis trouver. 

The verses, however, are not free from ambiguity, from 
which the best French scholars have been unable to clear 
them. Borron meanwhile proceeds to the Merlin. 

The grant estoire dou Graal has been thought to refer to 
the longer Graal, not to be confounded with the quest of the 
Graal, an entirely different work, ascribed to a Welshman, 
Walter Maj), archdeacon of Oxford towards the latter part 
of the twelfth century, which professes in the prologue to be 
a volume written by Christ himself, and given to a hermit 
in "Britain" in the year a.d. 717, and which, together 
with its recipient, underwent many preternatural vicissi- 
tudes, including a trip to Norway and back. 

This romance may be regarded as a recast of the Shorter 
Graal of Borron, composed, however, in a much more 
imaginative vein, and augmented with numerous adven- 
tures, episodes, and spiritual allegories, wholly wanting in 
the Shorter Graal, and, indeed, quite foreign to its bald 
and meagre character. It has been suggested that it 
was produced in collaboration by Map and Borron, who 
may have met at Fontainebleau, near which, according to 
M. Hucher, Borron's estates were situate during a mission 
on which Map is known to have been sent to Louis le Jeune. 

I do not, however, see how this theory can be reconciled 
with the lines quoted above, unless the statement which 
indeed usually appears in the manuscripts of the Greater 
Graal, that the work was translated by Borron from a 
Latin original, be taken in good faith. It is most ques- 
tionable whether it should be so taken, and I think the 
following considerations render the point very doubtful. 
The Longer Graal was probably feigned to have been trans- 
lated from Latin simply because that was the only language 


in which it would plausibly support its pretended Divine 
origin. This purpose would, however, be as well served by a 
bare assertion, as by the adhibition of a Latin text, which 
accordingly never existed, for the work is patently intended 
for perusal in knightly circles where the clerkly tongue 
would be unintelligible. It is, too, altogether unlikely that 
Borron knew Latin — indeed, I think his writings furnish 
indications that he did not. Moreover, the Greater Graal, 
though ecclesiastical inspiration is easily discernible in it, 
is unlike works written in Latin, and does not bear the 
stamp of a monastic story, with the exception of those 
parts that are identic in substance with the Shorter Graal, 
which probably embodies monkish legends based on apo- 
cryphal Scriptures. 

I proceed here to give a brief abstract of the Shorter 
Graal, noting by the way some of the differences between 
it and the Greater Graal. 

Upon hearing of Christ's death, the " Chevalier" Joseph 
of Arimathea, the subordinate and friend of Pilate, obtains 
from the latter the body of the Eedeemer. As the Jews 
object to the grant, Pilate orders Nicodemus to support 
Joseph with his authority. To the latter Pilate gives a 
dish which a Jew had brought to him from the house of 
Simon the leper, where the Saviour had used it for the 
Last Supper.^ In this " vaissel " Joseph, while preparing 
the body of our Lord for sepulture, collects the gore from 
the sacred wounds, remembering that the rock at the foot 
of the cross had been split by the blood of Christ which 
had fallen on it.^ 

Subsequently the Jews, fearing the popular effect of the 
resurrection, plot secretly to kill Joseph and Nicodemus, so 
that, should the Emperor Titus require them to produce 
Christ's, body, they might say that it had been given to 
Joseph and Nicodemus, and that these had since disap- 
peared. Nicodemus escapes, but Joseph is, by order of 

1 In the Greater Graal it is Joseph liimself who takes the dish from 
the house where the Last Supper had been celebrated. 

2 This is an old tradition frequently mentioned in ancient accounts of 
the Holy Places. It was a pious allegorical idea, rather than a belief, 
that the Cross had been erected over the tomb of the first man, and that 
the blood of the Second Adam had fallen upon the skull of the tirst 
Adam, when redemption of his progeny was consummated. 


Caiaphas, immured in a tower without light or food, where 
the Saviour, in a great brightness, appears to him/ comforts 
him, and restores to him the Vessel, instructs him to whom 
he is to transmit it, and teaches him the " secrets which 
are said in the great sacrament which is made on the Graal, 
that is to say, on the chalice." The vessel is to supply 
Joseph sole and sufficient sup2)ort and heavenly refection 
during his captivity, wliich terminates in the following way. 

The Emperor Titus in Rome comes to hear of Christ's 
life and miracles from a " chevalier " who has just returned 
from a '* pilgrimage," and who had seen the cures wrought 
by Him. Titus hereupon despatches a commission"^ to 
Judaea to inquire into Pilate's conduct, and the truth of 
the story, and also to bring back some article which had 
belonged to Christ, which as this knight assured him would 
have virtue to heal the emperor's son Vespasian from the 
lej^rosy with which he is afflicted, the pilgrim knight being 
meanwhile confined as a hostage for the truth of his story.^ 

Pilate clears himself before the commissioners, who bring 
back with them to Rome an old woman, Verrine, who had 
preserved the tow^el with which she had wiped Christ's face. 
Vespasian is healed by looking upon this towel, and he 
and Titus proceed in force to Judaea, where they institute 
inquiries, and arrest numerous Jews, who, as they cannot 
produce Christ's body, are burned. One Jew, however, on 
condition of being spared, conducts Vespasian to Joseph's 
dungeon. Vespasian descends into it and is prophetically 
recognized 1 »y the captive. The Jew is not indeed actually 

^ Gospel of Nicoderaus, chaps, ix. and xi. 

- Viiuiieta ISalvatoris, whore the imprisonment of Joseph is also 

^ This returned pilgrim is, in the Greater Graal, called a '* Knight of 
Capernaum ; " instead of being confined, he is himself commissioned by 
Titus to Judiea, where he instructs Felix (not Pilate), the governor, to 
issue a proclamation, in consequence of which '* Murie la venissienne '' 
produces the veronica, or divinely-impressed portrait. It is this woman 
who, in the Greater Graal, denounces the abettors of the crucifixion, 
and it is Joseph's wife (Helyab) who begs for her husband's deliverance, 
while Caiaphas discloses the dungeon where Joseph is imprisoned, on 
condition of having his life spared. Joseph, to whom his forty two 
years" captivity have seemed but as one day, indicates the culprits con- 
cerned in the crucifixion, and they are condemned to the stake ; 
Caiaphas is cast adrift in a boat. 


put to deatli, but is with liis family committed to the 
mercies of the sea in an open boat. 

Thus far the main features of the narrative are based 
upon extant apocryphal writings which date from a high 
antiquity. Of the subsequent portion we have no earher 
form. It is in the Shorter G-raal almost wholly mystic and 
spiritual, but in the Greater G-raal is largely expanded by 
the wars and knightly deeds of prowess of a number of 
personages unknown to the shorter romance. 

Joseph, his sister Enysgeus (Enigee), and her husband 
Brons,^ Avith a number of their kinsfolk and other prose- 
lytes, now receive baptism at the hands of St. Clement, 
and set out for a distant country where they settled. Many 
natives were converted, and the colony prospered a while, 
then everything went ill — famine reduced them to extre- 
mity — they were being visited for a great sin, " et cil 
pechiez estoit luxure sanz raison." [He]brons is consulted, 
and refers to Joseph, who prays before the Holy Vessel for en- 
lightenment, and is inspired by Heaven with a test whereby 
to discover the sinner. "Remember," he is told in a vision, 
** that at the Last Supper, at the house of Simon, I said 
that he that was eating and drinking with Me would be- 
tray Me. The guilty man knew these words applied to 
him, he was ashamed and drew away, and his j)lace has 
never been filled, but shall be, at another table." Joseph 
is instructed to make a table, and to direct Brons — who is a 
wise man and one of whom many a wise man shall be de- 
scended — to catch a fish. This fish is to be laid next the 
Graal which is set before Joseph's place at the table. When 
the company sit, one vacant place is left on the right of 
Joseph and left of Brons, and this represents Judas' s 
place, and shall only be filled by the grandson of Brons 
and Enygeus. Joseph tells his people if they believe in 
the Trinity and the Commandments, to sit down to the 
Grace of God. Some sat, others refrained, the table, ex- 

^ In the Greater Graal the part of Brons is filled by " Josephes," 
" Josaphe," or " Josephe," Joseph's son. He and his kinsfolk, as also 
Vespasian with his company, these secretl}'-, are baptized by St. Philip. 
St. Clement is not mentioned in the metrical Shorter Graal, in which the 
forms Hebron, Hebrons, Hebrun, as well as Brons, occur — both circum- 
stances which seem in favour of its anteriority. See supp. note. 


cept the Judas place, being full/ One of the sitters, Petrus, 
says that if the abstainers do not feel that grace and bliss 
which fills those who are seated at the table, it is because 
of the sin, and they withdraw in shame. Joseph bids 
the company reassemble daily at the hour of Tierce^ to the 
" service " of the yessel. 

The sinners desiring to know the name of the yessel, are 
told that it is properly called Grraal (or G-real), as none shall 
see it but those who are agreeable to it. 

Par droit Graal I'apelera ; 
Car nus le Graal ne verra, 
Ce croi-je, qu'il ne li agree. 

One of the sinners, Moses, a hypocrite and eyerything else 
that is bad besides, begs to be let remain ; Joseph says 
nothing can prevent him if he is as good as he pretends to 
be — he endeayours to seat himself in the vacant place : 
but, lo ! the earth opens and engulfs him. 

Aleyn is, in commemoration of the fish, henceforth 
known as the Eich Fisher.^ (Eiche Pecheour.) 

^ It seems possible not only that some of the marA'els narrated in the 
Greater Graal, but also some of the incidents in the earlier story may 
have been imported from the East by the Crusaders. Taken in connec- 
tion with the table of Brons, the following passage is curious : — " Ee- 
member when the Apostles said : — O Jesus, ISon of Mary, is Thy Lord 
able to send down a table (md ^idak, a table, especially one covered with 
victuals) to us out of heaven ? He said, Fear God, if ye be believers. 
Thej said : AVe desire to eat therefrom, and to have our hearts assured; 
and to know that thou hast indeed spoken truth to us, and we be 
witnesses thereof. Jesus Son of Mary, said : O God, our Lord, send 
down a table to us out of heaven, that it may become a recurring festival 
to us, to the first of us, and to the last of us, and a sign from Thee ; and 
do Thou nourish us, for Thou art the best of nourishers.'' — Koran, Surah 
V. 112-114. See also Weil, the Bible, the Koran, etc., p. 227, etc. 

■^ The office of Tierce used immediately to precede the celebration of 
mass in conventual establishments. 

^ M. Paulin Paris suggests that an allusion to the Fisherman's ring 
and the Papal power is here intended, in other works of the Graal Cycle 
it is the Koi Pecheur. The Fisherman's King seems to be mentioned 
about 1265, as applied to private letters of the Pope, but was probably 
so used for some time previously. (See Waterton in Archaeologia, xi. 
p. 138, 1856.) I think the more probable allusion is to the Fish, a symbol 
of Christ, retained from the early Church by which it was much em- 
ployed in the times of persecution on account of the hidden meaning of 
the Greek letters which compose it, I'x^vg, the initials of 'Irjffovg xP'^arbg 


Josepli is divinely informed that the vacancy represent- 
ing Judas' s place at the Last Supper shall not be filled up 
before the day of doom. But for his comfort an analogous 
place at another (Merlin's Round) Table shall be filled by 
Bron's grandson, and no more shall be heard of Moses 
until he is found in the abyss by that future occupant of the 
seat [the " siege perillous "] which he had essayed to usurp. 

Of the twelve sons of Brons, Aleyn elects to remain celi- 
bate,^ and to him his married brethren are to be subject by 
direction of Joseph, who shows him the G-raal which is 
eventually to pass into the custody of Aleyn' s son. Petrus 
receives a letter from heaven, and sets out for the vales of 
" Avaron," where he will remain alive till Aleyn's son 
come and read that letter and possess the Graal, which 
meanwhile is confided to the guardianship of Brons, by 
Joseph, who teaches him the secret words imparted to 
himself by Christ in the prison of Caiaphas. He is to go to 
the West, where he will await the coming of Aleyn's son, 
who is to receive the Holy Vessel. Joseph himself goes to 
Britain, Aleyn also and his brethren start for foreign lands. 

The narrative in the Greater Graal is expanded by an 
almost interminable series of marvellous feats, adventures 
and voyages, temptations on the rock Perilous,^ transfor- 
mations of fair females into foul fiends, conversions whole- 
sale and individual, allegorical visions, miracles and por- 
tents. Eastern splendour and Northern weirdness, angelry 
and devilry, together with abundant fighting and quite a, 
phenomenal amount of swooning, which seem to reflect a 
strange medley of Celtic, pagan, and mythological tradi- 
tions and Christian legends and mysticism, alternate in a 
kaleidoscopic maze that defies the symmetry which modern 
esthetic canons associate with every artistic production. 

A large portion of the story is taken up with the wars, 
conversions, dreams of Evilac and Seraphe, eventually bap- 
tized (ix.) by the names respectively of Nasciens and Mor- 
drains, before the transfer of the narrative to Britain, which 
is reached by Josephes and some of his followers upon his 

'^ This choice is narrated, in the Greater Graal, before the fish incident. 
^ See also below in Perceforest, the account of this mission. 
^ It is apposite to note that the Norman Mont St. Michel was known 
to mediseval writers as Mons Scti Michaelis de Periculo Maris. 


shirt, which bears them over the waters, while the rest 
follow ill a ship that had been preserved, and had been one 
of Solomon's navy. Once in Britain the adventures extend 
to Northumbria, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and probably 
embody reminiscences of early British historical events, but 
the geograi)hy if not purely imaginary is hopelessly vague 
and confused. In these various regions, all originally 
peopled by " Saracens," we are presented with a fresh suc- 
cession of wars, sieges, heaven-aided conquests, alliances, 
conversions, and prodigies. Here it is the episodes of the 
fish, and the attempts of Moses to sit in the siege perilous are 
narrated, and here we find Moses' fate is differently devised. 

Seven flaming hands from heaven hurl fire upon him and 
carry him off to a far place burning like a dry bush, 
where he is found towards the close of the story. The in- 
cident of the fish is also differently narrated. The good- 
livers go to service and are fed by the Holy Graal. The 
sinners, on the contrary, not being thus fed, beg Josephes, 
Joseph's son, to pray for them ; and he orders Bron's 
twelfth son, Aleyn or Alain le Gros, to take the net from 
the Graal table, and fish with it. He catches one fish, 
which the sinners say will not suffice. But Aleyn having 
prayed satisfies them all with it, and is thenceforward called 
the Rich Fisher. Joseph dies, and his body is buried at 
" Glay," while his son transmits the Graal to Aleyn. By 
Aleyn' s instrumentaUty the leper king Galafres, of the land 
of Foreygne, is converted and christened Alphasan. He 
is healed by looking upon the Graal, and builds Castle 
Corbenic, which is to be the repository and shrine of the 
Holy Cup, as Vespasian was healed by looking on the 

Much is said about the genealogy of some of the chief 
personages towards the close. " Descendances " is the word 
used. In the early portion Josephes was miraculously 
consecrated a bishop, and the same chrism was preserved 
by an angel, and with it all the Kings of Britain till Uther 
Pendragon, Arthur's father, are anointed. 

The stronghold of Corbenic answers to the wood-girt 
fastness-shrine of Monsalvatsch in the Parzival of Wolfram 

' See Stuart Glennie, Arthurian Localities. 


von Esdienbach and the Titurel of Albrecht von Scharfen- 
burg, whicb are German poems of the thirteenth century 
upon the theme of the G-raal. 

The Castle Corbenic is also called the " Palace of Ad- 
venture," for the reason that no knight but one might sleep 
there, without incurring the speedy penalty of death for his 
presumption. Alphasan is so punished within ten days. A 
Flaming man appears to him and stabs him in both thighs. 
There are several similar episodes of mystical wounding in 
the thigh by spear-head or sword. For instance, in chap, 
xvi., an angel with a fiery visage appears and drives a lance 
(leaving the head in the wound) into Joseph's thigh, for 
some remissness, and (chap, xvii.) draws out the lance by 
putting the haft into it.^ With the blood from the wound 
sight is restored to Nascienswho had been struck blind for 
lifting up the plateyne which covers the G-raal. Joseph, 
moreover, tells him that when the lance drips blood the 
secrets of the Graal shall be known, and predicts that the 
last of Nasciens' line, shall be the only man who shall be 
thereafter wounded by the lance and who shall see the 
wonders of the Graal. 

The earlier incidents in the story are derived either 
directly, or more probably through legends no longer 
known, from the early apocryphal writings. The immure- 
ment of Joseph of Arimathea is clearly traceable to the 
Gosj)el of Nicodemus, chap. ix. and xi., and the expedition 
of the Emperor and the Veronica story from a Greek 
apocryphal work known as Vindicta Salvatoris.^ 

The Graal story in its earlier form is clearly due in the 
main to ecclesiastical legends. The Greater Graal far sur- 

^ This wounding in the thigh and marvellous cure is remarkable, 
possibly an idea derived from Jacob's withered thigh suggested by St. 
Augustine's comment. It will be remembered that the mortal wound 
in6icted by the spear of Achilles in the thigh of Telephos could only be 
cured by the rust of the weapon. Cf. also the legend of St. Koch, who, 
during a vision received a wound in the thigh, and was afterwards as 
miraculously healed. 

^ Published in Evangelia Apocrypha, ed. Tischendorf, 1853, There 
were Anglo-Saxon versions of the Gospel of Nicodemus in tlie eighth 
century (see Vuelcker, Das Ev. Nicodemi in der Abenlandischen Lite- 
ratur., Paderborn, 1872), but no ti-ace of it in'Celtic literature is found 
before the twelfth century. No early translation, on the contrary, is 
known of the Vindicta, but an Anglo-Saxon version of the Veronica 


passes it in imaginativeness and claims, like the Book of 
Mormon, not only Divine inspiration but celestial penman- 
ship. Private devotional compositions were indeed some- 
times commended by a statement that they had been given 
to mortals in some miraculous way ; but the application of 
such a daring figment to a mere romance is characteristic 
of the bold treatment of the legend in this later form. In 
that uncritical age of ready faith, there was no clear 
border-line between history and fiction or sjjiritual marvels, 
and here this audacious assertion of a supernatural origin 
is, according to M. Paulin Paris, only part of the politico- 
literary plot which evolved the story of the G-raal and of the 
decurion's apostolate in Britain for the purpose of giving 
weight and prestige to the side of Henry II. in his struggle 
with Rome, and developing the story of an independent 
British Church, a design to which Henry's trusted personal 
friend Map, Archdeacon of Oxford, lent the influential 
support of his genial and brilliant pen. This assumj^tion 
of antiquity, it cannot be denied, was put forward at 
several councils.^ 

Certain it is, however, that neither was there prior to 
Henry II. 's time, a chapel at Glastonbury, dedicated to St. 
Joseph of Arimathea, nor is there extant any trace of a 
tradition or a cultus of the pious decurion's apostolate in 
this island, although the Gospel of Nicodemus w^hich sj^eaks 
of him at length was known and translated into several 
dialects of Anglo-Saxon in the eighth century. 

legend occurs in the same codex as the above Anglo-Saxon Gospel of 
Nicodemus, preserved in the Public Library, Cambridge. (See 0. W. 
Goodwin on Anglo-Saxon Legends of St. Andrew and St. Veronica, in 
the publications of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society.) This legend 
was originalh', as Tischendorf points out, derived from the Vindicta, 
doubtless, however, through a Latin version of great antiquity. A " Cura 
Sanitatis Tiberii Cesaris August! et damnatio Pilati," was published at 
Florence in 1741. Editions of *• La Vendetta di Cristo " were pub- 
lished at tlie same city early in tlie sixteenth century, and probably 
before, while a French version was printed at Lyons in 1517. The 
name Veronica is applied by mediaeval writers to the veil impressed 
with Christ's face, as if equivalent to vera icon. It may, however, per- 
haps be a corrupted forai from Berenice, daughter of King Agrii)pa. 
with whom Titus, Vespasian's son, has a liaison. Vorberg {V. Pilatus in 
Bibel Geschichte und Sage, 1881, 8vo.). 

' Montalembert, Moines de rUccident, t. iii. p. 26. 


Eicher, a monk of Senones in the Vosges, in his Chronicon 
Senonense, written in the thirteenth century, relates how 
Fortnnatus, 23atriarc'h of Graclo, a favourite of Charle- 
magne's, though, it must be noted, a man of no exalted cha- 
racter,^ obtained for a lengthened period the hospitality of 
the monks of Moienmontiers (Medianum Monasterium) in 
the Vosges, and left them, as alleged, the body (" corpus ") 
of St. Joseph of Arimathea, which he had brought with him 
from the East, and how subsequently these relics had been 
stolen — translated — in the dead of night by foreign monks 
at some date, unspecified, but prior to 980. This singular 
story, penned more than four centuries after the incident it 
relates, finds no corroboration in contemporaneous records 
or facts, or in the earlier-written annals of the monastery. 
Yet M. Paulin Paris assumes at once in his ingenious 
article in vol. i. of the Eomania, that the foreign monks 
were brethren of Glastonbury,"^ who wished to strengthen 
as far as possible the story of Joseph's foundation of that 
sanctuary, by at least having his bones, intended doubt- 
less for subsequent public veneration, within their walls. 
But on this supposition the religious must have been 
gifted with truly marvellous prescience, for the predatory 
exploit in question was achieved more than a century and 
a half before Henry II., the benefactor whom it was 
desired to serve, mounted the throne, and before William 
of Malmesbury^ had j^enned the first hint, which has 
reached our own time, of the traditional advent of Joseph 
of Arimathea to Glastonbury. It is, moreover, remarkable, 
considering the readiness with which the bodies of Arthur 
and Guenever were forthcoming at an opportune juncture,* 
that there are only obscure references to a grave of St. 

^ Leo III. writes of him to Charlemagne, "... non audivimus de eo 
sicut decet de archiepiscopo.'"' 

2 The Glastonian brotlierhood were not at a later period wholly with- 
out a reputation in such achievements. Witness their theft — i-emoval 
— real or alleged, of the relies of St. Dunstan from Canterbury in 1011, 
which was the subject of a long correspondence between the archbishop 
and the abbey. 

^ Gul. Malm. De. Antiq. Glaston. Eccl. c. i. apud Hearne, vol. i. p. 5. 

■* In 1189, when the Welsh renewed their resistance to the English 
yoke, and maintained that Arthur would return to lead them to triumph. 
Cf. infra, note to Arthur on Arthur's Chace. See Dugdale, Monast. i. 
p. 5. 


Joseph, not to a shrine or reliquary, as we should expect. 
Leland visiting the abbey in 1540, while noting the tombs 
of Arthur and his queen, makes no mention of that of St. 
Joseph of Arimathea, though William of Worcester speaks 
of the body of the decurion as being there in 1478. It 
is probable, therefore, that if the supposed relics were ever 
transported from Moienmoutiers to G-lastonbury, which 
seems very questionable, they were subsequently dis- 
credited. The belief in Palestine, about 1190, was that 
the body of St. Joseph was still preserved there. ^ M. Paulin 
Paris's theory is, therefore, more ingenious than convincing ; 
and we think the facts, if facts they be, recorded by Richer, 
have really little to do with the story, which is far more 
mystical and spiritual than the other romances of chivalry, 
and may not improbably have been, as supposed, the work 
of the churchman Map. There are parts of the romance — 
the engendering of Sir G-alahad the Pure '" alone destined 
to deserve the achievement of the G-raal, may be instanced, — 
that appear to me to contain allusions to the doctrine of 
the Immaculate Conception, which from the middle of the 
eleventh century had begun to attain prominence, and was 
rather timidly advocatecl by the Englishman, Duns Scotus, 
one of the most celebrated theological writers of the follow- 
ing century. In its composition it is very clear that, what- 
ever the contemporary political bias of its author, the in- 
culcation of faith and purity have been held in view through- 
out, and that the mysterious healing Graal is treated as a 
figure of the Eucharist. That worthiest of all the knights, 
the virgin Sir Galahad, was alone " agreeable " to it, and in 
its strength, he could say : 

I rode 
Shattering all evil customs everywhere, 
And past thro' Pagan realms and made them mine, 
And claslrd with Pagan hordes and bore them down, 
And broke thro' all. 

^ See Riant, Exuviae, t. ii. p. 216. 

' Anchois estoient ambedoi si espris de la souueraine amour du 
sauueour ke de chele partie ne lor pooit corages venir. Ne lors n'en 
orent il mie corage quant il engenrerent Galaad loi' darrain enfant par 
le commandement nostre signour (jui le commanda que il li apparillast 
de sa semenche, i. nouiel fruit de (juoi il empliroit en duant la Terre on 
il les uoloit mener. MS. Bib. Keg. xiv. E 3 Furnivars ed. of Lonelich 
— pi'inted by Koxburghe Club. 


The romance is a Christian allegory where the " Holy Cup 
of Healing " is the mysterious source of a Power which 
triumphs over all that is false and lends a spiritual inyin- 
cibility to its servants. 

Notwithstanding all that has recently been written on 
this romance, much is yet left to explore. We cannot in the 
space to which we are limited, enter further upon the sub- 
ject, but append at the end of the volume a few further 
notes on the story. 


a romance of the fifteenth century, where a great deal is 
written concerning the attainment and final disappearance 
of the Graal. 

I believe the only impression of Perceval is that of Paris, 
in 1530. It is not known who was the author of the prose 
romance,^ but in his preface he informs us that Philip of 
Flanders had ordered his chronicler to compile the story 
of Perceval ; but both Philip and his chronicler having 
died shortly after, Joanne, Countess of Flanders, ordered 
M.enessier, ung sien familier or ateur, to continue what his 
predecessor had merely commenced. His metrical com- 
position was the chief foundation of the prose romance ; 
but its author has also availed himself of the metrical work 
on the same subject written by Chrestien de Troyes in the 
twelfth century. 

Though the conquest of the Sangreal be the chief sub- 
ject of the latter part of Perceval, the early chapters are 
merely the story of an artless and inexperienced youth's 
first entrance into the world. The father and two elder 
brothers of Perceval had fallen in tournaments or battle ; 

^ Trespreulx et vaillant Cheuallier Perceval le gallon's jadischeuallier 
de la Table ronde, Leql acheua les aduetures du salct Graal. auec 
aulchuns faictz belliqueulx du noble Cbeualier Gauuai, etc. Paris, 
1530. Tresplaisante et Recreatiue Hystoii-e du Vaillant Perceval, 
Chevalier de la Table Ronde, lequel acheva les adventures du Saint Greal, 
avec aucuns faits belliqueux du Chevalier Gauvain et autres. 

^ Concerning the author and origin of this romance, see above, p. 159. 
Besides the works on the subject of Perceval which are there mentioned, 
there is an English metrical romance, Percyvell of Galles, which was 
preserved in the library of Lincoln cathedral, and is supposed to have 
been written by Robert de Thornton, in the reign of Henry VI., printed 
by the Camden Society. 


and hence, as the lost hope of the family, he had been kept 
at home by his mother, who resided in Wales, where he was 
brought up in total ignorance of arms and chivalry [fol. 21.^ 

At length, however, PercevaP is roused to a desire of 
military renown, by meeting in a forest five knights, 
arrayed in complete annour. When he has determined on 
leaving the family mansion, his mother gives him some 
curious instructions concerning the duties of a knight. 
After recei-ving these admonitions, he sets out for the 
court of Arthur, and on his way falls in with various ad- 
ventures, in the course of which he makes some whimsical 
applications of the lessons of his mother. 

On his arrival at Carduel, where Arthur then resided, 
he encounters a knight in red armour leaving the palace, 
and is asked by him where he is going, to which Perceval 
replies, " To King Arthur to demand your armour." In 
prosecution of this equitable claim, Perceval without 
farther ceremony enters on horseback into the hall, where 
Arthur is seated with his knights. This mode of presen- 
tation was not uncommon in the ages of chivalry. Stow 
mentions,^ that when Edward II. was sitting royally with 

' Cf. Achilles disguised in female attire, and sent by his mother to 
the Court of Lycomedes to prevent him from incurring the dangers of the 
Trojan war. 

2 See Appendix No. 3 — Perceval. Bergmann (The San Greal, 1870, 
p. 30) maintains that this name, invented by Guyot, is doubtless derived 
from fdrisi-ful, a compound Persian word signifying ignorant knight, and 
alludes to the ignorance of young Parzival, who, in consequence of the 
extreme solicitude of his mother to shelter him from every danger, had 
been deprived of all knightly education. Chrestien de Troyes, unac- 
quainted with the foreign origin of this word, explains it as signifying 
one v{\\o pierces or wanders through vales to seek adventures. jVI. de la 
Villemanjue (Komans de la Table Ponde, 1860, p. 396), considers Perceval 
synonymous with the Pheredur of Celtic Saga, Per = basin, and both 
Keval and Kedur = companion, so that either name = companion of the 
vase. The Basin or vessel being in the Pheredur tradition the Cauldron 
of Ceridvven or Celtic camp-kettle of heroes, a utensil figured on Celtic 
coins. See Hucher's Le Saint Graal, Paris, 1875-8, and his L'Art Gaulois 
ou les Gaulois d'api-es medailles, etc. Paris, 1868-74. 

^ Survey of London, 1G33, p. 521. Cf. Percy Essay on Ancient Min- 
strelsy. Note Z. prefixed to his Keliques, Lond. 1839, and series I. B.I., 
No. 6. In the Welsh Mabinogi Kilwych and Olwen, the former rides 
into the hall where Arthur is at table. Cf San Morte Bcitrage zur 
Bretonischen u. Celtisch-german, Heldensage, p. 7, and Villemarque 
Contes Populaires, etc., ii. 288. 


liis peers, solemnizing the feast of Pentecost, there entered 
a woman attired like a minstrel, sitting on a great horse 
trapped, who rode about the table showing pastime. In 
the legend of King Estmere, the prince of that name in- 
troduces himself in a similar manner : — 

King Estmere he stabled his steede 

Sae fayre at the hall bord ; 
The froth that came from his brydle bitte, 

Light in Kyng Bremor's beard. 

Arthur at this time happened to be holding full court 
(Cour Pleniere). At the time in which Perceval was writ- 
ten, the French sovereigns, from whose customs the royal 
manners in these romances are frequently described, did 
not, as afterwards, maintain a court continually open, but 
hved shut up with their families and the officers of their 
household, and only displayed their magnificence on cer- 
tain occasions, which occurred three or four times a year. 
These festivals are said to have owed their origin to the 
diets convoked by Charlemagne to deliberate on State 
affairs, which were re-established by Hugh Capet ; — they 
were announced by heralds at the town or castle where 
they were to be celebrated, — the barons and strangers were 
invited, and the entertainment consisted in feasts and 
dancing, joined to the exercise of the talents of the minstrel. 

It was on a solemn occasion of this nature, that Per- 
ceval behaved with the bluntness that has been described. 
Arthur, however, promises to make him a knight if he will 
dismount from his horse, and pay his vows to God and the 
saints. But Perceval would only receive the honour he 
solicited on horseback, because, as he said, the knights he 
met in the forest were not dismounted; and he added 
another condition to his reception into the order of knight- 
hood, which was, that the king should grant him permis- 
sion to acquire the arms of the Red Knight, who, it seems, 
was the mortal enemy of Arthur. On expressing his in- 
tention to gain them by his owti valour, Keux, the king's 
seneschal, who is introduced in most of the romances of 
the Eound Table, but is always represented as a detractor, 
a coward, and a boaster, nearly resembhng the character 
which Shakspeare has painted in so many of his dramas, 


begins to jeer Perceval. On this a damsel, who, we are in- 
formed, had not smiled for ten years, comes np to Perceval, 
and tells him, smiling, that if he live he will be one of the 
bravest and best of knights. The seneschal, exasperated 
at her good linmour and the prospects held out to Perceval, 
gives the maiden a blow on the cheek ; and, seeing the 
king's fool sitting near a chimney, kicks him into the fire, 
between the two andirons, because the fool had been ac- 
customed to say that this damsel would not smile till she 
had seen him who would be the flower of chivalry [fol. 64]. 
A fool was a common appendage to the courts of those days 
in which the romance was written. This embellishment was 
derived from the Asiatic princes. In Europe, a fool was 
the ornament held in next estimation to a dwarf ; his head 
was shaved, he wore a white dress with a yellow bonnet, 
and carried a bell or bauble in his hand. If, however, the 
scene which took place between the fool, the seneschal, and 
the damsel, be a just picture of the manners of a court in 
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the jjresence of a 
king must in those days have inspired very little reverence. 

Perceval having at length been knighted on his own 
terms, sets out in quest of the Eed Knight, and obtains 
the arms he desired by slaying him in single combat ; but 
as he did not understand how to open or close a helmet, 
and knew notliing of the fabric of the other parts of 
armour, he would have been much puzzled without the 
assistance of his squire, Guyon, who aids in arming him ; 
and also tries to 2)ersuade him to change his under dress 
for that of the knight he had slain. " I will never," replied 
he, "quit the good hemi)en shirt that my mother made me." 
Thus Perceval would only take the armour of the knight, 
and the squire is obliged to j^ut the spurs over the gathers 
which his master would on no account part with. He 
then teaches him to i)ut his foot in the stirrup, for Perce- 
val had never used stirrup nor spur, but had rode without 
saddle, and urged on his horse with a stick. The squire 
then carries the news of Perceval's success to the court of 
Arthur, to the great joy of the fool, and consternation 
of the seneschal [f. 7, etc.]. 

After this, chance (which does so much in all romances 
of chivalry) conducts Perceval to the house of a knight 


who instructs him in the exercises and duties o£ his pro- 
fession, and persuades him, though not without difficulty, 
to forsake his rustic garb for an attire more magnificent 
and warlike [f. 9]. 

The romance of Perceval is almost the only one which 
relates the story of a raw and inexperienced countryman's 
first entrance into the world, and his immediate admission 
into the order of knighthood. In other romances the 
heroes are introduced to our acquaintance in the plenitude j 
of glory, or we follow them through their gradual initia- I 
tion, while they are bred up among arms, and j^ass through I 
the regular steps in their advancement to knighthood. I 
The first pages of Perceval are also by much the most / 
comic of the Round Table romances ; in none of the other \ 
knights of Arthur do we meet with the same bluntness and 
naivete as in the young Welshman. 

After Perceval has been trained to the exercises of 
chivalry, and equipped in his military garb, the incidents 
of the romance bear a perfect resemblance to those of the 
other fabulous histories with which it has been classed. 

Our hero having left his instructor, arrives at the castle 
of Beaurepaire. Soon after liis entrance he finds that it 
is blockaded by an enemy, and in the course of the day he 
feels that it is reduced to extremities for want of provisions. 
Blanchefleur, the lady of the castle, makes up, in the best 
way in her power, for his bad entertainment at table, and 
he in return frees her from the besiegers, by overthrowing 
in single combat their chiefs, whom he sends prisoners to 
the court of Arthur, charging them to inform the smiling 
damsel that he would avenge her of the blow she had re- 
ceived from the seneschal [f. 10]. 

Having raised the siege of Beaurepaire, Perceval pro- 
ceeds to the residence of his uncle the King Pecheur, at 
whose court he sees the Sangreal or Saint G-raal and sacred 
lance [f. 18]. The wounds which this prince received in 
his youth had never yet healed up. They would, indeed, 
have been cured had his nephew thought proper to ask 
certain questions concerning these relics, as what is the 
use of the Sangreal, and why does blood drop from the 
lance? These pertinent inquiries, however, do not sug- 
gest themselves ; and by his want of curiosity he incurs. 


as we shall afterwards find, the displeasure of the Lady- 

Leaving.,' his unfortunate uncle unquestioned, Perceval 
sets out on his return to the court of Arthur, where he is 
preceded by many knights whom he vanquishes on his way, 
and sends thither as prisoners [f. 19]. On his arrival he 
takes vengeance on the seneschal Kreux, and accompanies 
Arthur to Carlion, where that prince holds a full court. 
During his stay there, he one day sees the Lady Hideous 
pass, who loads him with her maledictions. Her neck and 
hands, says the romance, were brown as iron, which was 
the least part of her ugliness ; her eyes were blacker than 
a Moor's, and as little as those of a mouse ; she had 
the nose of a cat or an ape, and lips like an ox ; her teeth 
were red, like the yolk of eggs ; she was bearded like a 
goat, was humped before and beliind, and had both legs 
twisted. This paragon makes her excuses to King Arthur 
for not tarrying at his coui't, as she had a long journey 
before her, but points out a castle where 570 knights, each 
with his lady, were detained in captivity [f. 26]. 

The deliverance of these prisoners opens a vast field of 
enterprise, and the adventures of many knights, particu- 
larly of Gauvain, the nephew of Arthur, are related at 
great length. 

Perceval dedicated himself for five years to exploits of 
chivalry, and neglected all exercises of devotion. He is at 
length reclaimed by meeting in a forest a procession of ten 
ladies and three knights, who were doing penance for past 
transgression, and were walking barefooted for the sake of 
mortification. Perceval is much edified by their conversa- 
tion, and goes to confess himself to a hermit, who proves 
to be his uncle, the brother of King Pecheur [f. 34]. 

From the hermitage Perceval sets out with the view of 
revisiting this piscatory monarch, and of propounding the 
proper interrogatories concerning the Sangreal. In wan- 
dering from wood to wood, he comes again to the castle of 
Beaurepaire, where, spite of his late conversion, he passes 
three days with Blanchefleur [f. 143, etc.]. 

After having accomplished the visit to his uncle, whose 
wounds he at length heals up by virtue of his questions 
[f. 180, 207], Perceval returns to the court of Arthur 


[f. 218]. Soon after his arrival, intelligence is brought to 
him of his uncle's death, who, it would appear, had only 
thriven by his infirmities, as some persons are kept alive 
by their gout. Arthur and all his court set out with 
Perceval for the kingdom of his deceased relative, to be 
present at the coronation. In succeeding to his sinful pre- 
decessor, Perceval also inherited a number of sacred curio- 
sities. Of these the chief was the Sangreal, whose wonders 
were manifested much to the satisfaction of Arthur and 
his barons : it appeared daily at the hour of repast in the 
hands of a damsel, who carried it three times round the 
table, which was immediately replenished with all the 
delicacies the guests could desire. 

Arthur returns to his usual residence, and Perceval, 
soon after his accession, retires to a hermitage, taking with 
him the Sangreal, which provided for his sustenance till 
the day of his death [f. 219]. The moment he expired, 
says the romance, the Sangreal, the sacred lance, and silver 
trencher or paten which covered the Graal, were carried up 
to the holy heavens in presence of the attendants, and 
since that time have never anywhere been seen on earth.^ 

Perceval, after his death, was conveyed to the Palais 
aventureux, where he was buried by the side of King 
Pecheur, and this epitaph was inscribed on his tomb: — 
Cy-Grit Perceval le Gallois, qui du Saint Greal les adven- 
tures acheva. 

Many incidents of the life of Perceval are related in 
other romances of the Round Table, especially in Lancelot 
du Lac [iii. fol. 56, etc.], where a full account, but with 
considerable variation, is given of the early part of his 
career ; he is brought to the court of Arthur by an elder 

1 The aim of the author of the poem of Parzival (Wolfram von Eschen- 
bach), was the solution of that great problem which at all times, and 
especially in the Middle Ages, has most deeply moved the minds of 
men, and is ever the most weighty theme of art: — the satisfaction of 
man's quest after happiness. But the problem can only be solved when 
this infinite yearning for happiness meets with an adequate object, and 
this indeed is not to be found on earth. . . . The fancy of the poet, there- 
fore, conceived such an object in the Holy Graal, the resuscitated 
Adamitic paradise, the existence of which was made intelligible and 
attested by the doctrine of the Redemption and the introduction of a 
special divine favour. — Domanig, Parzival Studien, Heft. ii. p. 106. 


brother ; and a lady, who had not spoken, in place of not 
having smiled, for ten years, foretells his future eminence, 
and expires on having uttered the prediction. 

But the chief dift'erence is in the circumstances con- 
nected with the acquisition of the Sangreal, the conquest 
of which is a leading incident in 

Lancelot du Lac,^ 

and occupies a considerable portion of that romance. 
Hence it has been classed among the continuations of the 
history of the Sangreal ; but the second part, which re- 
lates to the acquirement of that relic, is by no means the 
most interesting in the work, nor that in which Lancelot " 
himself has the greatest share. The account of the earliest 
years of his life is the most romantic, and his intrigue 
with Queen Geneura the most curious part of the com- 

King Ban of Britany was, in his old age, attacked by 
his enemy Claudas, a neighbouring prince, and after a 
long war was besieged in the strong hold of Trible, which 
was the only place that now remained to him, but was 
considered as an impregnable fortress [i. fob 1, Paris, 
1533]. Being at length reduced to extremities, he departs 
from this castle with his wife Helen and his infant son 
Lancelot, in order to beg assistance from his suzerain 
King Arthur ; and, meanwhile, intrusts the defence of 
Trible to his seneschal. While prosecuting his route he 
ascends a hill, from the top of which he perceives his 
castle on fire, for it had been treacherously surrendered by 

^ Roman fait et compose a la perpetuation des vertueux faits et gestcs 
de plusieurs nobles et vaillants cheualliers, qui furent au temps du roi 
Artus, eompao^nons de la Table- Konde, specialement a la louange de 
Lancelot du Lac. 5 parts, 1488, vol. i. printed at Kouen ; and vol. ii. at 
Paris. Le premier ( — tiers volume) de Lancelot du Lac nouvellement 
imprime, etc. 3 vols. A. Verard, Taris, 1494, fol. Other editions 
appeared at Paris in 1503, 1.513, 1520, 1533. See Ward Cat., p. 345. 

^ M. de la Villemarque (Les Komans de la Table Ronde, pp. 58-9), 
identifies Lancelot, or L'Ancelot, with a Cymric chieftain, Mael, whose 
■character and caner, as recited in the chronicles and bardic records, 
answers to those of Lancelot. Mael signifies servant in Celtic, as does 
Ancel, or its diminutive Ancelot, in Romance. See also J. S. Stuart 
Olennie, Lssay on Arthurian Localities, p. Iv*. See supp. note on names. 


the senesclial, who in romance is generally represented as 
a coward or traitor. At this sight the old man is struck 
with despair, and instantly expires. Helen, leaving her 
child on the brink of a lake, flies to receive the last sighs 
of her husband ; on returning she perceives the little 
Lancelot in the arms of a nymph, who, on the approach 
of the queen, throws herself into the lake with the child. 
"Et quand la royne approcha des chevaulx, qu'estoient 
dessus le lac, si voit son fils deslye hors du berceau, et ime 
damoiselle qui le tient tout nud en son giron, et le estrainct 
et serre moult doulcement entre ses deux mammelles, et 
luy baise souvent les yeulx et la bouche : car c'estoit ung 
des plus beaulx enf ans de tout le monde. Et lors la Eoyne 
dist a la damoiselle — Belle doulce amye, pour Dieu laissez 
mon enfant; car assez aura desormais de dueil et de 
mesaise : il est cheu en trop grand pourete et mi sere ; car 
il a perdu toutes joyes. Son pere est oren droit mort et sa 
terre perdue qui n'estoit mye petite si Dieu la luy eust 
gardee. A chose que la Royne die la damoiselle ne repond 
ung seul mot. Et quant elle la voit approcher si se lieve 
a tout I'enfant, et s'en vient droictement au lac, et joinct 
les pieds et se lance dedans. La Royne voyant son fils 
dedans le lac se pasme incontinent." — [vol. i., f. 4, recto]. 
This nymph was Vivian, mistress of the enchanter Merlin, 
better known by name of the Lady of the Lake. Lancelot 
received the appellation of Lac from having been educated 
at the court of this enchantress, whose palace was situated 
in the midst, not of a real, but, like the appearance which 
deceives the African traveller, of an imaginary lake, whose 
deluding resemblance served as a barrier to her residence. 
Here she dwelt not alone, but in the midst of a numerous 
retinue, and a splendid court of knights and damsels. 

The queen, after her double loss, retired to a convent, 
where she was joined by the widow of Bohort, for this 
good king had died of grief on hearing of the death of his 
brother Ban. His two sons, Lyonel and Bohort, are 
rescued by a faithful knight called Farien, from the fury 
of Claudas. They arrive in the shape of greyhounds at 
the palace of the lake, where, having resumed their natural 
form, they are educated along with their cousin Lancelot 
[i. f. 6, 15]. 


When tliis young prince has attained the age of eighteen, 
the Lady of the Lake carries him to the court of Arthur, that 
he may be admitted to the honour of knighthood [i. f . 29, 
etc.]. On his first appearance he makes a strong impression 
on the heart of Geneura. The history of Arthur receives a 
singular colouring from the amours of his queen with 
Lancelot. It is for her sake that the young knight lays 
whole cargoes of tributary crowns at the feet of her hus- 
band ; for her he accomplishes the conquest of North- 
umberland, where he takes the castle of Douloureuse 
Garde (Bei-wick), afterwards, under the name of Joyeuse 
Garde, the favourite residence and burying-place of the 
knight. In compliment to Geneura, he attacks and defeats 
King Gallehaut, who becomes his chief confidant, and 
brings about the first stolen interview between his friend 
and Geneura. It is even at the suggestion of this queen 
that he excites Arthur and his knights to a long war of 
vengeance against Claudas, the usurper of his own domi- 
nions. ^Vlien Arthur, deceived by the artifices of a woman, 
who insisted that she was the real Geneura, repudiates 
his queen, leaving her at liberty to indulge, without re- 
straint, her passion for Lancelot, the knight is not satisfied ; 
he deems it necessary for the dignity of his mistress that 
she should be restored to the throne of Britain, and that, 
protected in her reputation by the cloak of marriage and 
the sword of her lover, she should pass her life in re- 
putable adultery [i. f. 133, etc]. Hence a great propor- 
tion of his exploits are single combats, undertaken in 
defence of the innocence of his mistress, in which his 
success is usually greater than he deserved from the 
justice of his cause. To Geneura, too, on the most trying 
occasions his fidelity remains inviolate, as appears from 
the indignation he expresses at having been betrayed 
into the embraces of a damsel, who inconsiderately as- 
sumed the character of Geneura [ii. f. 86] — "Trop dure- 
ment damoyselle m'avez vous mocqvie ; mais vous en 
mourrez ; car Je ne vueil pas que jamais decevez Chevalier 
en telle maniere comme vous m'avez deceu. Lors dressa 
Tespce contremont, et la damoyselle qui grant paour avoit 
de mourir luy cria mercy a joinctes mains, en luy disant — 
haa franc Chevalier ne m'occiez mye, pour celle pitic que 


Dieu eut de Marie Magdaleine. Si s'arresta tout pensif — 
si la veit la plus belle que oncques avoit vea : et il trem- 
bloit si durement d'yre et de maltalent que a peine pouoit 
il tenir son espee, et pensoit s'il occiroit, ou si il la laisse- 
roit vivre. Et continuellement la damoyselle luy crioit 
mercy ; et estoit devant luy, toute nue, en sa cliemise, a 
genoulx : et luy, en regardant sa viz et sa bouche, en quoy 
il avoit tant de beaulte, luy dist. — Damoyselle, Je m'en 
yrai tout vaincu et tout recreant comme celluy qui ne 
s'ose de vous venger, car trop seroye cruel et desloyal si 
grant beaulte destruisoye." A more convincing proof of 
his fidelity, however, is exhibited in his reply to a damsel 
who makes to him an explicit declaration of love. — " Ma 
voluntee y est si bien enracinee que Je n'auroye pas le 
couriage de Ten oter. Mon cueur y est nuyt et jour, car 
mon cueur ne mes yeux ne tendent tous jours fors celle 
part, ne mes oreilles ne peuent ouyr bonnes nouvelles que 
d'elle. Que vous dirois — mon ame et mon corps sont 
tous a elle. Ainsi suis Je tout a son plaisir, ne Je ne puis 
rien faire de moy, non plus que le serf peult faire autre 
chose que son seigneur luy commande." 

Nor does Lancelot merely signalize his attachment by 
the preservation of his fidelity, or by engaging in those 
enterprises which were congenial to the feelings of a 
knight, but submits to disgraces which no one of his pro- 
fession could endure ; thus, for the purpose of overtaking 
Geneura when a horse could not be procured, he ascends a 
cart, the greatest infamy to which a knight could be sub- 
jected : " En ce temps la estoit accoustumee que Charrette 
estoit si vile que nul n'estoit dedans qui tout loz et tout 
honneur n'eust perdu : et quant s'invouloit a aucun tollir 
honneur si le faisoit s'en monter en une Charrette : Car 
Charrette servit, en ce temps la, de ce que Pilloris servent 
orendroit ; ne en chascune bonne ville n'en avoit, en ce 
temps la, que une " [ii. f. 3]. 

At length the intrigue of Lancelot and G-eneura is 
detected by the fairy Morgain [i. 155], the sister of Arthur, 
and revealed [iii. f. 126] to that prince by her and Agra- 
vain [iii. f. 133], one of the knights of the Round Table, 
for a vassal would have become criminal had he concealed 
anything from his lord. After this detection Lancelot 


sustains a long war against Arthur and liis knights, first 
in his castle of Joyeuse Garde, and afterwards in his states 
of Britany. Arthur is recalled from the prosecution of 
this contest by the usurpation of Mordrec ; ^ and as he 
disappears after the battle which he fights with this un- 
natural son, he is believed to have been slain with the 
rest of his chivalry.'^ Geneura, as if she thought pleasure 
only gratifying while criminal, withdraws to a convent. 
Lancelot having arrived in Britain after the battle, retires 
to a hermitage [iii. f. 150], and is joined in his solitude 
by his brother Hector of Mares, the only other Knight 
of the Round Table who had survived the fatal battle 
with Mordrec. 

Thus, although Lancelot du Lac is not free from the 
defect (common to all the Hound Table romances) of a 
want of unity in the action, there is yet one ruling passion 
that animates the story. The unconnected adventures of 
the Duke of Clarence [i. f. 140, etc.], as well as those of 
Lyonel and Boort, the two cousins of Lancelot, are, in- 
deed, related at full length, and the conclusion of the 
romance is principally occupied by the quest of the San- 
greal, in which Lancelot acts only a subordinate part ; but 
as far as the hero of the work is concerned, his passion 
for Geneura is the ruling principle by which all his actions 
are guided, and the main spring of the incidents of the 
romance. The adventures of the principal character, in- 
deed, are too much of the same cast : he is too often taken 
prisoner, and too often rescued; and his fits of insanity 
are also too frequently repeated [i. 149, ii. 1, &c.]. Lance- 
lot, however, has been perhaps the most popular of all 
the romances of the Bound Table. On the French playing- 
cards one of the knaves bears the name of Lancelot ; a 

' Mordred, ^lodred, and Medrawd. Mordred is sometimes called 
Arthurs nephew, sometimes his bastard son. An explanation is found 
in the Giglan, v. 2. " iSon propre fils naturel qii'il avoit engendre en sa 
scDur avant quelle fust mariee, car il 7ie scavoit pas quelle fut sa socur 
lequcl avoit nom Mordret," etc. — Schmidt, Wien. Jahrb. xxix. p. 103. 
Xor is the case of Arthur and Mordred the sole instance in folktale of 
this relationship. Siegmund (in the Volsunga Saga) has a son, Sinfiotli, 
by his sister Signe, who, under an assumed form, was unrecognized by 
him. — LiEB. See infra, note on the Gregory Legend, vol. ii. 

^ See Appendix, No. 2. 


proof of the estimation in wliicli the work was held at the 
time this game was invented. 

There is a metrical romance.on the subject of Lancelot, 
entitled " La Charette," which was begun by Chrestien de 
Troyes in the twelfth century, and finished by G-eoffrey 
de Ligny. This work is more ancient than the prose 
Lancelot,^ but, as the incidents are different, it cannot be 
regarded as the original of that composition. Mr. Warton, 
and the authors of the Bibliotheque, seem to agree in 
thinking that the work, of which I have given the above 
abstract, was originally written in Latin ; but Warton 
ascribes the French version to Eobert de Borron, on the 
authority of a MS. Lancelot du Lac, where it is said to 
be — mis en Francois par Eobert de Borron par le comande- 
ment de Henri Roi d'Angleterre. This manuscript, how- 
ever, is not the same with the printed Lancelot. In one 
passage of the Bibliotheque the composition of the prose 
romance of Lancelot is attributed to G-ualtier Map, who is 
also mentioned as the French author in the preface to 
Meliadus,^ — Ce n'est mye de Lancelot car Maistre Grual- 
tier Map en parla assez sufiisamment en son livre. The 
authors of the Bibliotheque have elsewhere attributed 
Lancelot du Lac to Gasse le Blond, a mistake which seems 
to have arisen from a misconception of a passage in the 
same preface, where it is said that he was the author of 
the adventures of Lancelot, meaning those connected with 
this hero, which are related in the romance of Tristan. 
Whoever may have been the author of the prose Lancelot, 
it is certainly of very high antiquity : indeed it is evidently 
older than Tristan, which is generally accounted the 
earliest prose romance of chivalry. No mention is made 
in the story of Lancelot, of the achievements of Tristan ; 
and surely, if the work devoted to his exploits had been 
written first, so renowned a knight would not have been 
passed over in silence. The Livre de Tristan, on the other 
hand, is full of the adventures of Lancelot, many of which 
coincide with those related in the romance of that name. 
The romance of Lancelot was first j)rinted at Paris in 

^ See Romania, i. p. 477. 

2 And in MSS. See Paulin Paris, Manuscrits Fran^ais de la Biblio- 
theque du Eoi, i. p. 146. 


1494, which is considered as the best edition : it afterwards 
appeared in 1513, and hastlj in 1533, which impression is 
held in higher estimation than that by which it was 
immediately preceded. 

In some of the editions, Lancelot is divided into three 
piarts,^ comprising the adventures of Agravain, the Quest 
of the Graal, and the Morte d'Artus, which is the origin 
of the celebrated metrical romance Morte Arthur. The 
English prose work of that name, also called the History 
or Boke of Arthur, was compiled from the romances 
of Lancelot, Merlin, and Tristan, by Sir Thomas Malory, 
in the beginning of the reign of Edward IV., and was 
printed by Caxton in 1485." Mr. Ritson imagines that the 
English metrical romance of Morte Arthur was versified 
from the prose one of the same title, but as it differs essen- 
tially from Malory's prose work, and agrees exactly with 
the last part of the French romance of Lancelot, it is more 
probable that it has been versified from this composition.'' 

^ In the same way as the heading Graal sometimes covered seven 
romances more or less distinct from each other, viz., ( 1) The Graal and its 
Guardianship, by J. Arimath, (2) The Quest of the Graal — (the latter, 
however, often included under Lancelot), (3) Merlin, (4-7), Lancelot. 
So under Lancelot we find — 

1. The early adventures of the Knight and his adulter^' with Genever, 
or Lancelot, properly so called. This first part is often divided into two 
sections, the pausing place being at the departure of Lancelot from 
Arthur's Court in company with Gallehaut. See Ward, Cat. i. p. 345, etc. 

2. Agravain the Troud. 

3. Quest of the Graal. 

4. Morte Arthur. 

- Malory's '• Morte Arthur " portrays in an unjust light the characters 
of Sir Gavain and other Knights of the Kound Table, though a work of 
the greatest interest and composed in the true sentiment of chivalry. 
See Sir Walter Scott's remarks in his introduction to Sir Tristi'em, 
No. IL Sir Thomas Malory's book was edited with an introductiun in 
1668. by Sir Edward Strachey. 

^ Dunlop copies Ellis in saying that this metrical version (printed in 
1819 for the Jioxburghe club) was translated immediately from the 
French text. Had he taken the trouble of comparing them together, 
he would not have hazarded such an assertion, — V. Madden, An Eng- 
lish (or rather Scottish)"metrical vei'sion of Lancelot of the Laik, about 
1490-1500, has been edited by Mr. Skeat from a manuscript in the 
Library of the University of Cambridge, for the Early English Text 
Society, London, 1865. The earlier edition, published for the Maitland 
Club in 1839, is very inaccurate. 


To Malory, Spenser was greatly indebted, as Warton has 
shown at much length in his remarks on that poet's imita- 
tions of the old romances/ where he also attempts to prove 
that Ariosto borrowed from Lancelot du Lac the notion of 
Orlando's madness, of his enchanter Merlin, and of his 
magic cup. 

The fairy Morgana, who is a principal character in this 
romance, and discovered to Arthur the intrigue of Greneura 
with Lancelot, is a leading personage not only in other tales 
of chivalry, but also in the Italian poems. In the Orlando 
Furioso she convinces her brother of the infidelity of his 
queen, by means of a magical horn. About a fifth part of 
the Orlando Innamorato, beginning at canto thirty-six, is 
occupied with the Fata Morgana. She is there represented 
as dispensing all the treasures of the earth, and as inhabit- 
ing a splendid residence at the bottom of a lake. Thither 
Orlando jDonetrates, and forces her to deliver iip the knights 
she detained in captivity, by seizing her by a lock of hair, 
and conjuring her in the name of her master Demogorgon. 
She thus became a well-known character in Italy, where 
the appellation of Fata Morgana is given to that strange 
and almost incredible vision which, in certain states of the 
tide and weather, appears on the sea that washes the coast 
of Calabria. Every object at Reggio is then a thousand 
times reflected on a marine mirror, or, when vapours are 
thick, on a species of aerial skreen, elevated above the sur- 
face of the water, on which the groves and hills and towers 
are represented as in a moving picture. (Swinburne's 
Travels, v. i. p. 365. Houel, Voyage Pittoresque des Isles 
de Sicile, &c. v. ii. p. 2.-) 

^ Hist. Poet. 1871, vol. ii. p. 118, etc. The only MS. exhibiting the 
story of Balin and Balan, in Malory's " Morte Arthur," belonged to 
Mr. Henry Huth, and is understood to be in preparation for publication. 

■^ Morgana is the Breton equivalent of sea- woman (Mo)', sea, and gwe?i 
splendens foemina). See Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, pp. 641, 412, 820. 
Villemarque, on the other hand (Contes populaires, etc. ii. 127, Note ix. 
and p. 39), explains that Morgan Hud is Arthur's head physician. " Ce 
personnage, dont les traditions celtiques et, d'apres elles tons les 
romanciers de I'Europe au moyen age, ont raconte I'histoire sur tous les 
tons, semble apparaitre ici sous son jour veritable. Son nom qui peut 
s'appliquer aux etres des deux sexes, aide a comprendre par quelle meprise 
les chanteurs populaires bretons,et leurs imitateurs,en ont fait une femme : 


We heave now discussed the romances which have been 
considered as relating more particularly to the matter of 
the Sangreal. The family history of the princes of Leon- 
noys, which is comprised in the romances of Meliadus and 
Tristan, who were knights of the Round Table, and con- 
temj^orary with Arthur, and of their descendant Isaiii le 
Triste, is next to be considered. 

The country of Leonais, or Leonnoys, of which Meliadus 
was king, and which was the birth-place of Tristan, though 
once contiguous to Cornwall, has now disappeared, and is 
said to be more than forty fathoms under water. An ac- 
count of it has been fished up by Carew in his Survey of 
Cornwall, and has been quoted in the notes to Way's 
Fabliaux [vol. ii. p. 179] : — "The sea gradually encroach- 
ing on the shore hath ravined from Cornwall the whole 
tract of country called Lionnesse,^ together with divers 
other i^arcels of no little circuite ; and that such a country 
as Lionnesse there was, these proofs are yet remaining. 
The space between the Lands-End and the isles of Scilly, 
being about thirteen miles, to this day retaineth that name, 
in Cornish Lethowsow, and carrieth continually an equal 
depth of 40 or 60 fathom, (a thing not usual in the seas 
proper dominion,) save that about the midway there lieth 
a rocke, which at low water discovereth its head. They 
term it the gulphe, suiting thereby the other name of 

le sobriquet de Hud {i?idusirietcx, par extensioTi enchant cur et ejichantcresse) 
qui repond exactement au mot fae, fee, dans la langue romane " (" En 
celuj temps estait appele/ae cil qui s'entremettoit d'enchantements . . . 
et moult en estoient pour lors principalement en la Grand' Bretaigne." — 
lioman de Lancelot du Lac), joint a sa qualite de medecin, explique 
I'origine de sa renommee fabuleuse, etc. — Lieu. 

^ According to an extract from Perceforest contained in the Marquis 
d'Argenson'fc. ''Melanges tires d'une grande Bibliotheque,"' xii. p. 144, 
the kingdom of Leonnoys received its name from the brilliant tourna- 
ments of Perceforest, where Lyonnel of Glar was king of the mysterious 
dominion of the magician Darnant. In the romance of Perceforest 
itself, however, iv. fol. 6, Perceforest says merely, "I give you herewith 
the whole of the counti-y which Darnant the magician possessed, and 
which I formerly conquered, and I will that it belong to your kingdom, 
■which shall, in honour of your name, be called the Kingdom Lyonnel.'' 
Another passage in Perceforest (iii. c. 16 end, fol. 37) reads: "It was 
called the kingdom of Lyonnel because that was the name of its first 
king, and it passed from heir to heir until Meliadus became its king." 
—Schmidt, Wiener Jahrbuch, Bd. 29, p. 98. 


Scilla. Fishermen also, casting their hooks thereabouts, 
have drawn up pieces of doors and windows." 

Of the romances relating to the heroes of the country 
which has been thus overflowed, the first in the order of 
events, thousrh not the earliest written, is 

Meliadtjs of Leonnoys,^ 

which was printed at Paris 1528. Eusticien de Pise, the 
original author of this romance, commences his prologue 
bj returning thanks to the Trinity, for having enabled 
him to finish the Romance of Brut, and to have thus ac- 
quired the favour of King Henry of England, whom his 
work had so greatly pleased that he had ordered him to 
write another of the same sort, because his former one had 
not comprehended every thing relating to the subject." 

* Meliadus de Leonnoys. Ou present volume sont eontenus les nobles 
faicts d'armes du vaillant Roy Meliadus de Leonnoys. Ensemble plu- 
sieurs autres nobles proesses de eheualerie faictes tant par le roy Artus, 
Falamedes, le Morhoult dirlande, le bon Chevalier sus paour, Galehault 
le Brun, Segurades, Galaad que autres bons chevaliers estans au temps 
du dit roy Meliadus. — Histoire singuliere et recreative nouvellement 
imprimee a Paris — Galliot du Pre. 1528. Meliadus and Guiron le 
Courtois form parts of the Great Romance of Palamedes, by Helie de 

^ This Prologue (in which Bret, that is Tristan, has been transcribed 
Brut by Dunlop), where the author calls himself Helis de Borron, was 
published at the beginning of Meliadus (Paris, 1528), with no very im- 
portant alteration, and in the prologue of the publisher (Galliot da 
Pre), this, the author's, prologue is attributed to Rusticien de Pise. 
This prologue has also been published with a few verbal alterations, by 
Paulin Paris. — Manuscrits Francois (Paris, 1838), ii. pp. 346-351. At 
the end of it M. Paris says that Palamedes is evidently a name inserted 
by mistake, and that the hero of the romance, in its original entirety, is 
the mirror of " Cortoisie," Guiron le Courtois ; and accordingly he 
always describes it under that name. Still there is some other evidence 
that the original romance was known as Palamedes, for it was probably 
to this that the emix-ror Frederick II, referred in his letter of thanks to 
the Segreto of Messina, for sending him a book that had formerly be- 
longed to one Johannes Romanzorius. His letter is dated 5 th February, 
1240, and runs thus : " De Liv. quaternis scriptis de libro Palamidis qui 
fuerunt quondam magistri Johannis Romanzori, quos nobis per notarium 
Symonem de Potramajore mictere te scripsisti, gratum ducimus et 
acceptum." See Hist. Dipl. Frid II*"', edited by Huillard-Breholles, 
tom. V. (Paris, 1859), p. 722. Gyron le Courtoys is the name given to a 


" 111 this book, therefore," says he, " will be contained what- 
ever is wanting in Brut, and the other works extracted 
from the matter of the Sangreal." After this formidable 
declaration, in order to give an appearance of authenticity 
to his fables, he talks of his labour in translating from the 
Latin ; he also dwells with much complacency on his writ- 
ings, and informs us that he had received two castles from 
King Henry as a reward for them. He then declines 
interfering with the adventures of Lancelot, as Gualtier 
Map had said enough of them ; or of Tristan, as he himself 
had treated that subject in the Brut. King Henry having 
shown a predilection for Palamedes, who, we shall find, is 
a principal character in the romance of Meliadus,^ Rusticien 
wisely resolved to gratify the humour of a monarch, who 
remunerated the compilation of old wives' tales with a 
couple of castles. 

This prodigal monarch must have been Henry III., for 
Rusticien informs us in his Gyron the Courteous, that the 
romance of that name was compiled from the book of his 
Lord Edward, when he went to the Holy Wars. It is 
evident this was Edward the First, who embarked for 
Palestine in 1270, during the life-time of his father 
Henry III. ISTow, if Rusticien compiled from a book be- 
longing to Edward I., his existence could not have com- 
menced in the reign of Henry II., who died in 1189, nor 

separate romance (published by Verard, Paris, about 1501), and there 
attributed to the same Rusticien. Paulin Paris (vol. ii. pp. 355-360 
and vol. iii. pp. 56-61 and p. 64 of his Manuscrits Francois, Paris, 18'38) 
has given some account of Husticien de Pise, from whose Arthurian C(jm- 
pilations both these printed romances, the Meliadus and the Gyron, were 
drawn. Kusticien himself informs us, in a passage printed at the begin- 
ning of the Gyron, that he had been engaged upon what he terms 
" translating " a great book of romances belonging to Edward I. of Eng- 
land, whilst he (at that time only prince), was absent in the Holy Land, 
that is, in 1271-72. Paulin Paris has printed the words of Kusticien 
more fully (vol. ii. p. 356), and from these, and the work to whicli they 
form the preamble, it appears that this "translation" was, in fact, a 
compilation of several Arthurian Komances, especially the Quest of the 
Saint Graal, the Tristram, and the Palamedes (or Guirun le Courtois). 
Subsequent copyists, sa^'s M. Paris (iii. p. 64), picked out individual ad- 
ventures of this or that hero, and hence were derived the printed Guiron 
and Meliadus. — Ward, Cat. of Komances, i. pp. 366-7. 

^ In spite of which he is not mentioned in the absti'act which follows, 
and but little in the original romance. 


could it have been protracted to the accession of Henry lY,, 
who succeeded in 1399. 

The prologue of Rusticien is the only part of the com- 
position which has reached us in its original form, and the 
romance of Meliadus is now only extant as corrected by a 
more modern author, who must nevertheless have lived at 
a very remote period. It is this Bedacteur, as he is termed, 
who acquaints us in his preface that Eusticien de Pise was 
the name of his predecessor. He also informs us, that he 
himself laboured by order of Edward King of England ; 
but what Edward he has left to conjecture, which has fixed 
on the fourth monarch of that name. He bestows much 
commendation on the original author, but complains 
bitterly of his not having been sufficiently explicit on the 
subject of his hero's genealogy. This deficiency it was 
then fortunately too late to supply, so that the romance, 
at least in its corrected form, begins with the adventures 
which happened in England to two Babylonish hostages, 
who had been sent by their own monarch to Rome, and 
had been allowed by the emperor to pass on their parole 
into Britain. They visited Arthur at Kamalot (Win- 
chester), which was his chief city next to London, and his 
favoiirite residence, on account of the fine rivers and woods 
by which it was surrounded. Some curious delineations 
are given in this part of the romance concerning the 
manners of the court, and form of the government of this 
fabulous monarch. 

During the stay of the Babylonians at the court of 
Arthur, a romantic story occurs of a knight who arrives 
incognito in a vessel, and defies all the companions of the 
Eound Table, but is severely wounded in a combat with 
one of their number. Arthur receives this unknown knight 
in his palace, and treats him with kindness, even after he 
discovers that the stranger is Pharamond, King of the 
Pranks, his mortal enemy. 

Being cured of his wounds, the Prench king embarks 
for his own country ; — he sails down a stream, and enjoys 
a favourable breeze till he comes to the mouth of the river. 
There a storm arising, he lands and reposes himself by the 
side of a fountain, which was surrounded by a grove of 
pines, and where the grass was green and abundant. 


When refreshed, he sends to demand joust from Trarsin, 
the lord of the territory, a brave but felonious knight. 
This adversary he speedily overthrows ; but afterwards 
encounters Morhault, or Morhoult, of Ireland, a celebrated 
character in the romances of the Round Tal)le, and by 
him he is in turn defeated. After the combat, these op- 
ponents, who were unknown to each other, mutually re- 
count their adventures ; and, Avhile thus engaged, a damsel 
arrives to inform Morhoult that her lady, who was the 
wife of Trarsin, and the most beautiful woman in the 
kingdom, expected him to an interview. This, however, 
was a snare laid by the husband, who had suspected his 
wife's fidelity, and had bribed the damsel to bring Mor- 
hoult into his power. A punishment is prepared for the 
lovers, which seems to have suggested to Tasso the situation 
in which he places Olindo and Sophrouia, in the 2nd canto 
of the Jerusalem. Brehus, who afterwards received the 
surname of Pitiless, attempts to rescue the lovers, but in 
vain. After his failure in this trial, while ranging through 
a forest he meet Yvain, the nephew of Arthur, with a lady 
in his company/ Brehus kills the lady, owing to the 
hatred he had conceived against the fair sex, on account 
of the damsel who had betrayed Morhoult. A combat 
ensues between Brehus and Yvain, who could not be per- 
suaded of the justice of this retaliation. When both are 
nearly exhausted with fighting, the Knight without Fear 
arrives on the spot, and accompanied by Brehus again 
proceeds to attempt the rescue of Morhoult. This is at 
length effected, and Morhoult carries off the lady from 
Trarsin ; but, when he has travelled a short way, he is 
met and vanquished by Meliadus, who restores the lady to 
her husband, after exacting a promise that he would use 
her well for the future, and cease to interrupt her 

This is the first appearance of the hero of the romance, 
though the preceding part occupies 29 chapters of the 173, 
which constitute the whole work. Meliadus again vanishes, 
and we hear little more of him till the 43rd chapter. The 
intervening sections are chiefly filled with the exploits of 

^ See Appendix, No. 5. 


Morlioult and of tlie Kniglit without Fear. Afterwai'ds, 
however, Meliadus enters on a long series of adventures, 
chiefly warlike, of which the principal is the deliverance of 
Arthur and his companions from the castle of the rock. 
At the end of twenty chapters, entirely occupied with 
"■ tournaments and trophies hung," the reader is pleased, 
though it redounds little to the honour of the hero, to find 
a love story, which the author has introduced at the 65th 
chapter. Meliadus, in the course of his wanderings, meets 
with the queen of Scotland in a castle, where he was enter- 
tained, and becomes deeply enamoured of her. He returns 
to his own country in a languishing state of health, and 
imparts the story of his love to one of his knights, who 
undertakes to acquaint the queen with his passion, and to 
repeat to her a lay which his master had written, expressive 
of his sentiments. Meliadus afterwards prosecutes his 
suit personally, with the utmost success, at the court of 
Arthur, where his mistress then resided, till the king of 
Scotland being informed of the intrigue, surprises MeHadus 
with his queen ; but jDromises him, — qu'il ne feroit aucun 
mal a la reine jDOur chose qu'il eut vue. The king con- 
siders it prudent, however, to depart from court with his 
consort ; but on his way to Scotland he is overtaken by 
Meliadus, and the queen is carried off. On account of this 
outrage, Arthur declares war against Meliadus. This 
prince, in consequence, retires to his own states, whence 
he describes his situation, and demands aid from Phara- 
mond, in a poetical epistle, and is promised assistance, in a 
similar form. A long account is given of the contest 
carried on in Leonnoys ; Meliadus is taken prisoner, and 
the war concludes, in the 106th chapter, with the surrender 
of his capital, and re-delivery of the queen of Scotland to 
her husband. Meliadus amuses himself, while in confine- 
ment, with playing on the harp, and composing songs, 
particularly a lay, entitled, Dueil sur Dueil, which, the 
romance informs us, was the second that ever was written. 
He is allowed to solace himself in this manner till Arthur, 
being attacked by the Saxons, frees him from prison, in 
order to avail himself of his assistance in his contest with 
these enemies, which is, at length, terminated by Meliadus 
overthrowing Ariohan, the Saxon chief, in single combat. 


In more recfular works of fiction, the late appearance of 
•the hero would, no doubt, be considered as a blemish ; but 
in few of the ancient romances of chivalry is unity of 
action and interest, or any other rule of art, accurately 
attended to. Meliadus is destitute, however, of the principal 
charm of works of this nature, — a variety of enchantments, 
of giants, and of monsters, which are the only embellish- 
ments that can compensate for the want of regularity and 
breach of the laws of composition. The knights in Meliadus 
wander for ever amid gloomy forests, and there is more of 
the sombre mythology of the north, with less eastern 
splendour and imagination, than in almost any of the tales 
of chivalry.^ 

Towards the conclusion, the romance is occupied with 
the exploits of the son of Meliadus, whose adventures form 
the subject of a separate romance, called 


from the name of its hero. Tliis composition has been the 
most popular of all the romances of the Round Table, and 
is considered as the work which best characterizes the 
ancient sj^irit of French chivalry. It was first printed at 
Rouen, 1489, one volume folio ; afterwards in two volumes 
folio at Paris, by Verard, without date, and again at the 
same place in 1522 and 1569. The date of its composi- 
tion, however, is much earlier than that of its first 

The story of Tristan seems to have been current from 
the earliest times. It was the subject of a number of 
metrical tales in the romance language, which were versi- 
fied by the French minstrels from ancient British authori- 
ties. From these original documents, or from the French 
metrical tales, was compiled the Sir Tristrem, attributed to 
Thomas of Erceldoune, and which has been edited by Mr. 

^ I?especting another romance of Meliadus, entitled Meliadus Cheva- 
lier de la Croix, see Graesse's Litterargeschichte, vol. ii., Abth. iii. p. 21 1 . 
It is there spoken of as " halb mystichen." — H. Jenner. 

^ Koman du tres vaillant noble et excellent cheualier Tristan, fils 
du noble Koi Meliadus de Leonnoys, . . . par Luce Chevalier, Seigneur 
do Chasteau de Gast. Kouen, 1498, 2 pts. See infra, p. 207. 

I. O 


[Sir Walter] Scott. There are also extant two fragments 
of metrical versions, wMcli are supposed to be parts of one 
wliole work, written by Raoul de Beauvais, wlio lived in 
the middle of the thirteenth century. But the immediate 
original of the prose Tristan is understood to be the his- 
tory of Mark and Yseult, written in verse by Chrestien de 
Troyes, who flourished early in the twelfth century. The 
MSS. of this work have not reached us, and the prose com- 
position of which it is the original is of a date long poste- 
rior. Mr. Scott believes that the author of the prose Tris- 
tan is the same with the earliest writer of Meliadus, who 
was certainly Rusticien de Pise, and who lived in the reign 
of Henry III.^ The author of Tristan, however, informs 

^ Helie de Borron, the author of the original Palamedes, and, there- 
fore, author of the Meliadus, completed the unfinished Tristan of Luces 
de Gast, and hence Scott's view is partly right. See Paulin Paris's 
" Manuscrits Fran^ais," etc., i. 137, where the epilogue of H. de Borron 
is quoted from MS, 6776, in the Bibliotheque Du Roi (now Bibliotheque 
Nationale) at Paris. 

The poet, who has done most to immortalize the theme of Tristan and 
Isolde, is Gottfried of Strasbwg, who lived in the earl}^ part of the thir- 
teenth century. He declares that he had found difficulty in obtaining an 
authentic copy of the Romance, on account of the number and vax'iety of 
versions of the work ; but had found in the course of his reading a 
large number of foreign (Walschen) and Latin compositions, that 
Thomas von Britanie, who was very conversant with the hritunsche7i 
huchen, had related the story accurately. Southey (p. liii of his Intro- 
duction to Morte Arthur) identifies this Thomas with Thomas the 
Rymer, of Erceldoun, the supposed author of the Auchinleck MS. of the 
fourteenth century, published by Sir Walter Scott. It is, however, by 
no means clear who Thomas von Britanie was, or in what language, or 
at what time he wrote. Not improbably he may be the author of 
various detached .fragments of an early French metrical Tristan which 
exists in various libraries, and is the original which Thomas of Erceldoun 
followed. The existence of early Scandinavian Aversions of the Romance 
which agree with the Auchinleck MS. would favour this hj'pothesis. 
Chrestien de Troyes says himself at the commencement of his Cliges 
that he had written the Romance, Dou roi Marc et d'lseut la Blonde. 
The poem, however, has disappeared, though there ai'e extant various 
fragments of a Romance of Tristan, which ma}' have formed part of it. 
F. Michel has carefully collected the various passages in the chansons of 
the troubadours which mention the story of Tristan. The earliest is 
that in a poem by Rambaud, Count of Orange, about the middle of the 
twelfth century. He gives no fewer than thirteen other Provencal poets 
who refer to the subject, as well as numerous allusions in early English 
poems. For further information on the history of the Romance we may 
refer the reader to F. Michel's " The Poetical Romances of Tristan," 


US at the beginning of the romance, that he is Luce 
Seigneur de G-ast : " I, Luce Seigneur de Gast have compiled 
the authentic history of Tristan; who, next to Lancelot 
and Galaad, was the most renowned knight of the Round 
Table." Mr. Wartou ^ attributes it to the same author, on 
the authority of a title-i^ge, in a MS. copy of the romance 
— Le Roman de Ti'istan et Iseult traduit de Latin en 
Francois, par Lucas Chevalier du Gast, pres de Sarisberi, 
Anglois. In the preface to Mehadus, we are infomied 
that it was begun by this Lucas de Gast, or Lucas de lau, 
as he is there called, the first who extracted from the 
matter of the St. Greal ; that Gasse le Blond next wrote 
the part which relates to Lancelot, after which the story 
was concluded by Robert and Helie de Borron." " Aussi 

London, 1835; also to Villemarque's "Les Romans de la Table Ronde," 
etc., Paris, 1861 (p. 72, where the author gives great prominence to the 
undoubted early Celtic elements of the story) ; Sir Walter Scott's intro- 
duction to his edition of the Auchinleck MS. ; Ten Brink's " Geschichte 
der Englischen Literatur," i. p. 298, and Eugen Kolbing's " Die 
nordische und die Englische version der Tristan-Sage," Heilbronn, 
1878-83. The very favour in which this romance was held, and its 
consequent wide diffusion is, i^erhaps, a reason why there have been 
fewer imitations of it than of many other romances. 

^ Vol. i. p. 118, ed. 1824. 

- A translation of the French romance appeared in Spain at the com- 
mencement of the sixteenth century, and is mentioned by Don Quixote. 
Cervantes himself, in all probability, owed to the old Celtic legend the 
hero of his immortal satire on the romances of Chivalry, for the 
corrupted form Tristrcm, which was commonly derived from the Welsh 
words trist (sad) and trcm (a face), exactly answers to the Knight of 
Woeful Countenance. Cf. also Irish dreac (visage) and trom (sad). The 
other English form Tristram is explained in the romance as follows : 
" When he is christened let call him Tristram, that is as much as to say 
as a sorrowful birth" (Morte Arthur, bk. vii.). Ferguson, in his work, 
The Teutonic Name System, is equally at fault when he suggests that 
Tristram may be derived from the Anglo-Saxon th'ist (bold, daring) and 
ram (a raven). F. Michel in his notes (vol. i. p. xii) gives : '' Trist, 
sad, Tristys and Tristans, sorrow," from a Cornish-English vocabulary ; 
*' Trysian (trust), a noisy one, a blusterer. Trist (ty-rhist), pensive, sad," 
from Owen's " Welsh Dictionary ; " " Trist, Tuirseach, sad, weary," 
from an Irish-English Dictionary; " 7>^5, Trus, sad," etc. Davies 
(Mythology and Kites of the British Druids. Lond., 1809, pp. 439, 440) 
gives Trystan in the Triads the meaning of "herald." E. T. Leith 
(On the Legend of Tristan, Bombay, 1868) says Essyllt (Ysolt) has 
been identified with the old Gaulish Adsalluta (in Henzen, Nos. 5864, 
5911), ibid., p. 33. 


Luces de lau translata, en langue Francoise, une partie de 
THystoire de Monseigneur Tristan, et moins assez que il ne 
deust. Moult commenca bien son livre, et si ny mist tous 
les faicts de Tristan, ains la greigneur partie. Apres s'en 
entremist Messire Gasse le Blonc qui estoit parent au Eoy 
Henri, et devisa I'Hystoire de Lancelot du Lac, et d'autre 
chose ne parla il mye grandement en son livre. Messire 
Robert de Borron s'en entremist, et Helye de Borron par 
la priere du dit Robert de Borron ; et pour ce que com- 
paignons feusmes d'armes longuement Je commencay mon 
livre," &c. It was formerly shown that Eusticien de Pise, 
by whom this preface to Meliadus was written, lived in the 
reigns of Henry III. and Edward L, since he talks of the 
expedition of the latter to the Holy Land. Now, since 
Kusticien mentions Robert and Helye de Borron, by whom 
Tristan was completed, as his contemporaries, that cele- 
brated romance could not have been finished before the 
reign of Henry ILL. Indeed, in the MS. of Helye de 
Borron' s portion of the work, entitled La Mort de Tristan, 
it is said to have been written at the desire of Henry III. 

The early part of the prose romance of Tristan is occu- 
pied with an account of the ancestors of the hero, and 
many generations pass successively in review before the 
birth of Meliadus. This prince was married to Isabella, 
sister of Marc,^ king of Cornwall ; — a fairy fell in love with 
him, and drew him away by enchantment, while he was 
engaged in the exercise of hunting. His queen set out in 

^ M. F. Michel, Poet. Rom. Tristan, vol. i. p. cxiv, gives a number of 
authorities from Pausanias (x. 19, 6) downwards, showing March or Marc 
to have in Welsh the signification of horse, Anglo-Saxon = Mearh, equus, 
Meare, equa, English mare. King Marc takes in respect of his horses' 
ears the place of Midas in classic tale. See Villemarque, Contes popu- 
laires, i. 82, 99, etc. Sir W. Scott's introduction to Sir Tristram, 
Jakob Grimm in the Gottingen Gelehrte, Anzeiger, 1824, st. 12, p. 118. 
In the life of St. Paul de Leon, born about the end of the fifth century, 
is this passage: "Rex quidam Marcus nomine, in vicino (Scil. Cornubia 
vel Cambi'ia) florebat eodem tempore, cujus. imperii dominatus leges 
dabat quatuor gentibus, linguarum famine dissidentibus." St. Paul con- 
verted this king, Acta SSorum, 12 March, torn. ii. p. 114, quoted by 
M. F. Michel, p. lii of his first volume. ^^ 

Tristan seems to have been recognized gefl^ally as a patron of the 
chase, as appears from the numerous allusions to him in this sense in old 
English works on Venery, many of which are given by M. Michel. 


quest of him, but was seized with the pains of child-birth 
during her journey, and expired soon after being dehvered 
of a son, whom, from the melancholy circumstances of his 
birth, she called Tristan before her death.^ 

^ The story of Tristan's birth and childhood belongs to the widely- 
spread myth of the royal Foundling, who is secretly nurtured and after- 
wards happily reinstated in his rights. See Appendix. 

Trystan. son of Talhvch, was a celebrated leader, who lived about the 
middle of the sixth centur\'. He was, with Griediol and Gwgon, one of 
the three heralds of Britain ; Trystan, with Gwair and Kai, was called 
one of the three crowned princes. With Coll and Pryderi, he was one of 
the three powerful swineherds from whom the expedition of Arthur, 
Marc, Kai, and Bedwyr failed to procure, whether by gift or purchase, 
fraud or force, so much as a single pig. He was one of the three desig- 
nated obstinate chieftains, whom it was impossible to divert from their 
projects, and one of the three faithful lovers on account of his attach- 
ment to Esyllt, wife of his uncle March. See F. Michel, The Poetical 
Eomances of Tristan, xlviii-li. 

The incidents in the Tristan story, concludes Mone (Ueber die Sage 
von Tristan, etc., Heidelberg, 1822, p. 20), have the same character of 
original traditions as are found in the Triads, the Mabinogion, and other 
productions of the Celtic bards, and they betray a common ultimate 
fount of such romantic poems. The Mabinogion and similar productions 
are not properly speaking history, but shed a faint ray where history 
denies her light. They embody sagas from remote times, when Druid 
lore still numbered many friends, and in this respect agi'ee with the most 
genuine records of the ancient British faith. 

Thus under the figure of the three powerful swineherds we have a 
reminiscence of the earliest religion of our Celtic ancestors, which 
appears to have been a corrupt patriai-chal form of worship, combined 
with a strong antagonism to Sabceism. Coll and his mystical sow 
(mother ?) is the type of a new doctrine, which was introduced in Corn- 
wall, and thence borne to Wales and Britain. It agreed in general with 
the older creed, but comprised a worship of the celestial luminaries, 
and represented the deified patriarch (Noah) as identical with the sun. 
Tristan's existence represents the advance of this heretical belief, which, 
with foreign admixture, spread over a great part of Britain, and was 
even accepted in Ireland, though its earliest and centi'al stronghold was 
in Cornwall. Mone maintains further that the faith represented by 
Tristan was of Teutonic character. See also Sir G. W. Cox's " Mytho- 
logy of the Aryan Nations," pp. 96, 136 ; and the same writer's '* Intro- 
duction to Comparative ^lythology," Appendix iii. Leith (p. 35) con- 
siders •• that the Tristan legend was originally an Archaic Aryan 
myth; that is, it was carried westwards into Britain with the wave of 
Celtic migration ; that it passed at a very early period from thence into 
Britany ; and that it owed its preservation there mainly to the fact of 
that province being the last resting-place of the Celtic language in 

The relations which exist between Tristram, Isolte, and King Marc 


Gouvernail, the queen's squire, who had accompanied 
her, took charge of the child, and restored him to his father, 
who at length burst the enchantment of the fairy, and re- 
turned to his caj)ital. 

A dwarf having foreshown to Marc, the uncle of Tristan, 
that he would be dethroned by means of his nephew, this 
monarch vowed the death of Tristan. The emissaries he 
employed surprised and slew Meliadus during a chace, but 
Grouvernail saved his son, and conveyed him to the court 
of Pharamond, As the young prince grew up, Belinda, the 
daughter of this French monarch, became enamoured of 
him ; but, her passion being discovered by her father, Tris- 
tan found it necessary to leave the court. ^ 

precisely reproduce those which are found between Sigurd, Brynhild, 
and Gunnar in the Volsung tale. The naked sword which Sigurd 
places between himself and Brynhild, when he lies down to sleep by her 
side, is placed again by Tristram between himself and Isolte, and is used 
for the same purpose in the German story of the Two Brothers, the 
Norse Legend of Big Bii-d Dan, and the Arabian Nights tale of Allah- 
ud-deen. These instances alone suffice to prove not only the common 
origin of these popular stories, but their nature, and to justify the 
remark of Sir G. Dasent, that " these mythical deep-rooted germs, 
throwing out fresh shoots from age to age in the popular literature of 
the race, are far more convincing proofs of the early existence of these 
traditions than any mere external evidence." — Sir G. W. Cox, Introduc- 
tion to Mythology and Folklore, pp. 328, 329. 

^ Of Camalot orCamelot, where Arthurchiefly held hiscovu*t,Caxton,in 
his preface to Sir T. Malory's " Morte Arthur," speaks as though it were 
in Wales, probably meaning Caerleon, where the Roman Amphitheatre 
is still called Arthur's Round Table. Malory himself, though (bk. ii. ch. 1) 
he seems to connect Camelot with Avelion or Glastonbury, yet farther 
on (bk. ii. ch. 19) says distinctly that Camelot " is in English Win- 
chester," where, too, there is a Round Table, mentioned by Caxtou, and 
still to be seen — an oaken board with the knights' names on it. And 
yet at the time these authorities wrote Camelot itself existed in Somer- 
setshire, with its proper name, and with all the remains of an important 
town and fortress, and doubtless the traditions of Arthur, which Leland 
found there, and which in great part, at least, remain to this day. 
Leland calls it Camallate, or Camalat, " sometime a famous town or 
castle, upon a very torre or hill, wonderfully erfstrengthened of nature " 
(Itinerary, ii. pp. 38, 39 ; ed. Heme, 1711). This appeai-s as the Castle of 
Camellek in maps of the dates of 1575 and 1610, and in that of vol. iv., 
pub. 1727, of Camden's " Magna Britannia," the text of which says, " the 
inhabitants call it King Arthur's Palace" [p. 804]. But soon after then a 
learned antiquarian states in a manuscript, written about 1736, "that 
the name had been superseded by that of Cadbury Castle. . . . The 


A reconciliation was now effected between Tristan and his 
uncle Marc, who, at this time, resided at the castle of Tin- 
tagel, rendered famous by the amour of Titer and Yguerne 
[supra, p. 152]. In this court, Tristan became expert in all 
the exercises incumbent on a knight. Nor was it long till he 
had an opportunity of practically exhibiting his valour and 
skill. The celebrated Morhoult [Welsh, Martholouc'h], 
brother to the queen of Ireland, arrived to demand tribute 
from Marc. Tristan encountered this champion, who was 
forced to fly and embark, bearing with him a mortal wound. 
This was the first, and perhaps the most glorious, of the 
exploits of Tristan ; but the lance of Morhoult had been 
poisoned, and a wound his opponent had received grew 
daily more envenomed. He departed from Cornwall, with 
the view of finding in a foreign country the relief which 
could not be obtained in his own. A breeze of fifteen 
days' continuance conveyed him to the coast of Ireland. 
He was ignorant to what shore he had been carried, for he 
seems to have steered at random : he disembarked, how- 
ever, on this unknown country, tuned his harp, and began 
to play. It was a summer evening, and the king of Ire- 
land and his daughter, the beautiful Yseult, were at a 
window which overlooked the sea. The strange harper 
was conveyed to the palace, and his wounds were cured by 
Yseult. But after his recovery he was found out, from the 
circumstance of wearing the sword of Morhoult,^ to be the 

neighbouring villages which, according to Leland, bore the name of 
Camalat, with an addition, as ' Queen-Camel/ still exist as Queen- 
Camel, or East Camel and West Camel, and near by runs the river 
Camel, crossed by Arthur's Bridge, while Arthur's Well still springs 
from the hill-side " (Sii* Edward Strachey, Introduction to Sir T. 
Malory's '* Morte Arthur," pp. xi., xii., and J. S. Glennie Stuart's 
" Essay on Arthurian Localities," prefixed to the edition of Merlin, pub- 
lished by the Early P^nglish Text Society, 1879, p. xxvi*). The author 
of this elaborate and erudite dissertation places the Arthur-land in 
Scotland. In the copy of the " Britannia " before me the name in the 
map is '* Camelek." • 

^ This sword was afterwards conveyed to Italy, according to the 
Chronicle of Galvano Eiammi (Muratori, Ber. Ital. Script., xii. col. 
1027e), cited by Sir Walter Scott, Tristram, 1819, p. 298, or (according 
to a charter published by Bymer, 2nd edit., i. pt. 1, p. 99) fell into the 
hands of John of Lackland. (Bailey, History and Antiquities of the 
Tower of London, 1825, vol. i. p. 183.) 


l^erson who had killed that knight, and was in consequence 
obliged to quit the country. 

On his return to Cornwall, Tristan fell in love with the 
wife of Segurades, a Cornish nobleman, and followed her 
into the dominions of Arthur, whither she had been carried 
by Bliomberis. While in England he defeated a knight 
called Blaanor, who had accused the king of Ireland of 
treason, before the court of Arthur. The king being thus 
acquitted of the charge, Tristan, at his request, accom- 
panied him to Ireland, where he finally yielded to the 
solicitations of his champion, and promised to bestow his 
daughter Yseult in marriage on the king of Cornwall. 
The mother of Yseult gave to her daughter's confidant, 
Brangian, an amorous potion, to be administered on the 
night of her nuptials. Of this beverage, Tristan and 
Yseult, during their voyage to Cornwall, unfortunately 
partook. Its effects were quick and powerful : nor was its 
influence less permanent than sudden ; but, during the re- 
mainder of their lives, regulated the affections and destiny 
of the lovers. A medical potion, producing a temporary 
love, or rather ]3assion, is said to have been frequently 
composed ; but the power of the beverage quaffed by Tris- 
tan and Yseult was not believed to be confined to its im- 
mediate effects, nor to derive its power from stimulating 
ingredients, but was suj)posed to continue its influence by 
the force of magic, through the lives of those who shared 
in the draught. Nor was the belief in such philtres the 
offspring of the middle ages : rules for their composition 
are to be found in every author who treats of drugs, from 
Pliny's " Natural History," to the works of the seventeenth 

In the course of a delightful, though unprosperous 
voyage, Tristan and Yseult arrive on an unknown island, 
where they are detained as prisoners, along with a number 
of knights and damsels, who had previously landed. But 
the uncourteous customs of this castle being destined to 
end, when it should be visited by the bravest knight and 
fairest woman in the world, Tristan is enabled, by over- 
coming a giant, to effect the deliverance of the captives, 
after which he becomes the friend of Gallehault, the lord 
of the manor. 


After the arrival of Tristan and Yseult in Cornwall, and 
the nuptials of the latter with King Marc, an uneasiness 
arises lest the husband should discover the imperfections 
of his bride. Brangiau, the confidant of Yseult, who had 
never yielded to the weakness which occasioned the em- 
barrassment of her mistress, agrees, by a deception fre- 
quently practised in the romances of chivalry, to occupy 
her place for a single night. Marc being thus guarded 
from suspicion, the provident Yseult, to escape the possi- 
bility of detection, delivers her late substitute to two 
ruffians, with orders to murder her in a wood. The 
assassins, having somewhat more mercy than their fair 
employer, leave their commission unexecuted, and only 
tie her to a tree, from which she is soon released by 

After this, a great part of the romance is occupied with 
the contrivances of Tristan, and the tender Yseult, to pro- 
cure secret interviews, which are greatly furthered by 
Dinas, Marc's seneschal. 

Tristan, at a time when he was forced to leave Cornwall, 
on account of the displeasure of his uncle, was wounded 
one day while sleeping in a forest, with a poisoned arrow, 
by the son of a person he had killed. The ladies of those 
days, and particularly Yseult, were very skilful leeches ; 
but to return to Cornwall in the present circumstances 
was impossible. He was, therefore, advised to repair to 
Britany, where Yseult with the White Hands was as cele- 
brated for her surgical operations, as Yseult of Cornwall. 
Tristan was cured by this new Yseult, and married her, 
more out of gratitude than love, if we may judge from his 
apathy after the nuptials.^ He employed himself solely 
in building a vessel in which he might sail to Cornwall, 
and at length embarked on receiving a message from the 
queen of that country ; but was driven by a tempest on 
the coast of England, near the forest of Darnant, where he 
deUvered King Arthur from the power of the Lady of the 
Lake. Having experienced a number of adventures he 
reached Cornwall, accomj^anied by Pherediu, his wife's 
brother, whom he had made the confidant of his passion, 

^ See Appendix, No. 6. 


and wlio had followed him through the whole course of 
this expedition. These friends had no sooner arrived in 
Cornwall, than Pheredin became enamoured of the queen. 
Tristan was seized with a fit of jealousy, retired to a forest, 
and went mad. After many acts of extravagance and 
folly, he allowed himself to be conducted to court, where 
he was soon restored to reason by the attention of Yseult. 
But, on his recovery, the jealousy of Marc revived, and he 
was compelled to take a solemn oath that he would leave 
Cornwall for ever. 

Our hero proceeded to the dominions of Arthur, which 
again became the theatre of unnumbered exploits. The 
jealousy of Marc, however, was not extinguished by the 
absence of Tristan ; he set out for England with a view of 
treacherously killing his nephew, and in his progress 
through the kingdom made himself ridiculous by that 
cowardice for which most of the knights of Cornwall were 
notorious. At the court of Arthur he became the laugh- 
ing-stock of all the knights, by flying before Daguenet, 
the king's fool, whom he mistook for Lancelot du Lac. 
While there, however, Ai'thur effected a reconciliation 
between him and his nephew, and after their return to 
Cornwall, Tristan delivered that kingdom from the in- 
vasion of the Saxons, by whom it had been brought to 
the verge of ruin. Marc, however, behaved with signal 
ingratitude, for his suspicions being again awakened, he 
threw Tristan into prison. He was freed by an insurrec- 
tion of the peojjle of Cornwall, and in turn shut up Marc 
in the same prison in which he had been himself confined. 
Tristan took this opportunity of eloping with the queen of 
Cornwall, to the dominions of Arthur, where he resided at 
Joyeuse Garde, ^ the favourite castle of Lancelot, and which 
that knight assigned the lovers as their abode, till Arthur 
again reconciled all parties. Marc was then delivered 
from prison, and restored to the enjoyment of his rebellious 
kingdom and his fugitive spouse. 

Tristan, subsequent to these events, returned to Britany 
and to his long- neglected wife. Soon after his arrival, in- 
formation was brought that the Count of Nantes had 

^ By some supposed to be Bei'wick. 


thrown off his allegiance to Runalen, brother of the white- 
hitudecl Yseiilt, who had lately succeeded his father in the 
duchy of Britany. Tristan defeated the rebels, but while 
mounting a tower by a scaling ladder, he was struck to 
the ground by a stone thrown from the garrison, and 
severely wounded. 

It was during the attendance of Yseult on Tristan, that 
she first became his wife in the tenderest acceptation of the 
term. The Count de Tressan, in his extract,^ has repre- 
sented this late fulfilment of his obligations, as the primary 
cause of the death of Tristan ; but, in reality, he recovered 
from his wound and its consequences, and forgot Yseult of 
Britany, and the white hands, who was now doubly his 
own, in the arms of Yseult of Cornwall. He had obtained 
admission to the palace of Marc in the disguise of a fool, 
and had many secret interviews with the queen ; but, being 
at length discovered, he was forced to return to Britany. 

Kunalen, the brother-in-law of Tristan, was at this time 
engaged in an intrigue ; our hero had assisted him in 
forging false keys to enter the castle of the knight with 
whose lady he was enamoured, and even consented to 
accompany him to a rendezvous which his mistress had 
appointed. Tris^tan had already retired, when the husband 
unexpectedly returned from the chase : Runalen and 
Tristan escaped in the first instance, but were pursued and 
overtaken by the husband and his people : Eunalen was 
killed, and Tristan received a wound from a poisoned 
weapon. Of the physicians who attended him, an obscure 
doctor from Salerno ^ was the only one who understood 
his case ; but the other physicians insisted on his dis- 
missal, and Tristan was soon reduced by their remedies to 
the lowest ebb. In this situation, as a last resource, he 
despatched a confidant to the queen of Cornwall, who was 
so celebrated for her surgical skill, to try if he could induce 
her to accompany him to Britany. Should his endeavours 
prove successful, he was ordered to display, while on his 

' Biblioth^que des Romans, 1776, Avril, vol. i. p. 230, etc. 

- As early as the ninth century the Medical School of Salerno 
obtained a wide reputation. In the twelfth or thirteenth century 
it began to decline and was soon thrown into the shade by the Schools 
of Paris and Bologna, 


return, a white sail, and a black one if liis persuasions 
were fruitless ; — an idea which every one will trace to a 
classic and mythological origin. The messenger arrived 
in Cornwall in the character of a merchant ; in this dis- 
guise he had an early opportunity of seeing the queen, and 
persuaded her, in the absence of Marc, to return with him 
to Britany. 

Meanwhile Tristan awaited the arrival of the queen with 
such impatience, that he employed one of his wife's dam- 
sels to watch at the harbour, and report to him when the 
black or white sail should appear over the wave. Tseult, 
who was not in the secret, demanded the reason of this per- 
petual excubation, and was, for the first time, informed 
that Tristan had sent for the queen of Cornwall. It was 
but lately that this white-handed bride had learned the 
full value of a husband, and the jealousy to which she had 
hitherto been a stranger took jDossession of her soul. 

Now the vessel which bore the queen of Cornwall is 
wafted towards the harbour by a favourable breeze, all its 
white sails unfurled. Yseult, who was watching on the 
shore, flew to her husband, and reported that the sails 
were black. Tristan, penetrated with inexpressible grief, 
exclaimed, " Haa doulce amye a Dieu vous command — Ja- 
mais ne me veerez, ne moy vous : A Dieu je vous salue. 
Lors bat sa coulpe, et se commando a Dieu, et le cueur 
luy creve, et I'ame s'en va." 

The account of the death of Tristan was the first intelli- 
gence which the queen of Cornwall heard on landing. She 
was conducted almost senseless into the chamber of 
Tristan, and expired holding him in her arms ; — " lors 
I'embrasse de ses bras tant comme elle pent, et gette ung 
souspir, et se pasme sur le corps ; et le cueur lui part, et 
I'ame s'en va." 

Tristan, before his death, had requested that his body 
should be sent to Cornwall, and that his sword, with a 
letter he had written, should be delivered to King Marc. 
The remains of Tristan and Yseult were embarked in a 
vessel, along with the sword, which was presented to the 
king of Cornwall. He was melted with tenderness when 
he saw the weapon which slew Morhoult of Ireland, which 
so often saved his life, and redeemed the honour of his 


kingdom. In the letter Tristan begged pardon of liis 
uncle, and related the story of the amorous potion. 

Marc ordered the lovers to be buried in his own chapel. 
From the tomb of Tristan there sprung a plant, which 
went along the walls, and descended into the grave of the 
queen. By order of Marc it was cut down three times, 
but every morning the obdurate vegetable sj^rung up more 
verdant than before, and this miracle has ever since shaded 
the tombs of Tristan and Yseult.^ 

Such plants are common in the old ballads. The Scotch 
ballad, Lord Thomas and Fair Annet, concludes, 

•' Lord Thomas was buried without kirk wa', 

Fair Annet within the quiere ; 
And o' the tane thair grew a birk, 

The other a bonny briere, , 

And ay they grew, and ay they threw, 

As they would fain be near." 

Percy's " Reliques." 

Similar verses, but with some verbal alterations, con- 
clude Prince Robert, published in the Minstrelsy of the 
Border ; and we have plants possessed of the same j^owers 
of sympathy and vegetation in the wild romantic ballad of 
the Douglas Tragedy. 

^ Grimm notices an old Spanish fragment of our legend, which con- 
tains an incident unknown to any other version. Isolde the Fair is 
therein represented to have become a mother in consequence of partaking 
of a lily, which grew on Tristan's grave. This lily, as Kurtz suggests, 
corresponds to the rose and vine of the other romances. We light here, 
however, upon a curious class of myths, which we find in most ages and 
countries. The idea they represent probably originated in the employ- 
ment by early races of certain ti-ees and plants as phallic symbols. 
Among the Hindus such a one was the Lotus ; another was the Indian 
flower Kambal, to which the sage Nachiketa owed his birth. The 
Chinese ha/e also a legend concerning the miraculous conception of the 
Divine Keason by his holy mother, Shing-mu, after she had eaten of the 
flower Lien-wa (Nelumbium). Besides these tales, there is another 
related by Ovid (Fasti, v. 229), according to which Juno, anxious to 
have offspring, touched a certain flower at the bidding of Florti, and 
thereupon obtained the fulfilment of her wishes in the birth of Vulcan, 
in rivalry with Jupiter, who had produced Minerva from his brain. Cf. 
A. De Gubernatis, Mythologie des Plantes ; Kadamba, Lis, etc. Lecky 
(History of Rationalism, i. p. 233) mentions an old superstition connected 
with this subject. Leith, Tristan, p. 17. Cf. also Dubricius and 
Taliesin, Nash, p. 196-7. 


The fabulous Hstory of Tristan has generally been con- 
sidered as the most beautiful of the romances of the 
Eound Table. "The character of Palamedes (says Sir W. 
Scott), the despairing adorer of Yseult, is admirably con- 
trasted with that of Tristan, his successful rival. Nor is 
there a truer picture of the human mind, than the struggles 
between the hatred of rivalship, and the chivalrous dic- 
tates of knightly generosity, which alternately sway both 
the warriors. The character of Dinadan, brave and 
gallant, but weak in person and unfortunate in his under- 
takings, yet supporting his mischances with admirable 
humour, and often contriving a witty and well-managed 
retort on his persecutors, is imagined with considerable 
art. The friendship of Tristan and Lancelot, and of their 
tw£) mistresses, with a thousand details which display great 
knowledge of human nature, render Tristan interesting in 
the present day, in spite of those eternal combats, to which, 
perhaps, the work owed its original popularity. The 
character of King Marc is singular and si^ecific ; it is well 
brought out from the canvas, and a similar one is not to 
be met with in other romances of chivalry. In the early 
metrical tales, he is merely represented as weak and 
uxorious. The darker shades of character have been 
added in the prose romance, to excuse the frailty of Yseult." 
I am not certain if the idea of the amorous potion, which 
is Yseult' s great apology, and forms the groundwork of 
the romance, be well conceived ; for, if in one respect it 
palliates the conduct of the lovers, it diminishes our admi- 
ration of their fidelity. The character of the queen of 
Cornwall can hardly excite love or compassion, as the 
savage atrocity of her conduct to Brangian starts up every 
moment in the recollection of the reader. The pitiful 
malice of the white-handed Yseult, who, to serve no end, 
brings a false report to her husband in his last moments, 
renders her as contemptible as the heroine is hateful, and the 
dishonourable manner in which Tristan comes by his death, 
diminishes the pity we might otherwise feel for his fate.^ 

^ Though the favour accorded to Tristan has been universal, its critics 
are far from unanimous. 

" The simple grace and delicacy of sentiment evinced by Tristan in his 
passionate love of Isolt pass imagination," writes a French author. 


Whatever may be its beauties or defects, the romance 
was well known, and popular in all the countries of 
Europe ; it was repeatedly printed in France in its original 
form, and modernized into the language of that country 
by Jean Maugin dit le petit Angevin, 1554, under the title 
of Le Nouveau Ti'istan. 

A translation of Tristan was printed in Spanish,^ at 
Seville, 1528, and again in 1534; and a romance, some- 
what different in the adventures it contains, was published 
in 1552-5, in Italian, entitled I-due Tristani.^ 

" Lacking the resources of fairy creation which appear for the first time 
in Ysaie le Triste (see pp. 212-222, infra), the work bears the impress of a 
tender melancholy. We would willingly exchange more than one recent 
or contemporary epic effusion of which we wot for but a few pages from 
the pen of the barbarous author of this romance." 

Southey expresses himself thus : " I began the perusal of this 
(Tristan) as being the most celebrated of all these romances, with great 
expectations ; those expectations were not answered. The story in its 
progress not only disappointed, but frequently disgusted me. Vile as 
the thought is of producing by a philtre that loAe upon which the whole 
history turns, and making the hero, or rather both the heroes, live in 
adultery, and that, too, in both instances of an aggravated kind, these 
are theconditionsof the romance, which must be taken with it for better, 
for worse ; they are the original elements, of which the author was to 
make the best he could. But it is the fault of the author that so many 
of the leading incidents should shock, not merely our ordinary morals, 
which are conventional, and belong to our age, but those feelings which 
belong to human nature in all ages. The characters also are in many 
instances discordant with themselves ; and the fault, so fi-equent in such 
books, of degrading one hero to enhance the fame of another, is carried 
here to great excess. An author may do what he will with the creatures 
of his own imagination — they are as clay in the potters hand, — but it is 
a foul offence in literature to take up the personage whom another A\Titer 
has described as a knight of prowess and of worth, and engraft vices 
upon him, and stain him with dishonour. Who could bear Desdemona 
represented as an adulteress ? "' Introduction to the " Byrth, Lyf, and 
Actes of King Arthur, etc.," London, 1817, i. p. xv. 

Roger Ascham, in his Schoolemaster (bk. i.), condemns this among 
other romances of chivalry composing the Morte Arthur as offending 
" in two special points, in ojien manslaughter and bold bawdjty. In 
which book those be counted the noblest knights that do kill most men 
without any (juarrel, and commit foulest adulteries by subtlest shift. . . . 
And yet ten Morte Arthurs," he adds, " do not the tenth part so much 
harm as one of these books made in Italy (the Italian novels)." 

^ The first Spanish edition was that printed in Gothic letter with 
woodcuts, at Valladolid, in 1501. 

- This romance coincides in its circumstances with a very scarce 


Nor has any romance of the Round Table furnished such 
ample materials of imitation to the Italian novelists and 
l^oets. The story of the Grreyhounds, a favourite dog in 
the middle ages, which has been successively copied by the 
Queen of Navarre and Bonaventure des Perriers, may be 
found in Tristan/ There Dinas, King Marc's seneschal, 
pursued his wife, who had been carried off by a knight, 
and had taken her husband's greyhounds along with her ; 
the seneschal overtakes the fugitives, and, trusting to the 
affection of his wife, agrees that she should be left to her 

Italian poem, by Nicolo Agostini, the continuator of Boiardo, printed at 
Venice in 1520, entitled II secondo e terzo libro de Tristano, nel quale si 
tracta come re Marco di Cornouaglia trovandolo iin giorno con Isotta 
I'uccise a tradimento, e come la ditta Isotta vedendolo morto di dolore 
mori sopra il suo corpo. Concerning a MS. in Italian prose of the his- 
tory of Lancelot and Tristan, pi-epared in 1447, see Bandini, Codd. Lat. 
V. 208, Ebert. Many of the Italian poets allude to Tristan and Isolt. 
Dante gives Tristan a place among the lovers, whom he describes flying 
in company with storks : 

'•' Vidi Paris, Tristano e piii di mille 
Ombre mostrommi, e nominommi a dito, 
Che amor di nostra vita dipartille." 

Inferno, Canto v. 67. 

A German translation from an old Fi'ench prose form of the romance 
was pi'inted by H. Schonsperger, at Augsburg, in 1498. Xyerup 
notices an early Danish prose version of Tristan, see Almindelig 
Morskabsldesning i Danmark og Norje igjennem Aarhundreder Copen- 
hagen, 1816, p. 118, etc. 

An ancient Icelandic Saga upon the same subject dates from the first 
half of the thii'teenth centui-y, and follows, says Professor P. E. Miiller, 
the English poem of the Auchinleck INIanuscript of the fourteenth cen- 
tury, edited by Sir Walter Scott. This Saga of Tristram was published, 
in 1878, by the Copenhagen Kongelige Nordiske Oldskrift Selskab. 

Evidences everywhere abound of the widespread popularity of this 
romance. A manuscript was found in the Vatican containing a frag- 
ment of Tristan in corrupt Greek, in politic verse. This was printed in 
Breslau, in 1821, by F. V. der Hagen, and again by F. Michel in his 
Poet. Rom. Tristan, London, 1835. See note, p. 194. Hans Sachs 
composed a drama on the subject. 

^ This statement, indeed, is made by Count Tressan (Bibl. d. Rom. 
1776, Avril, p. 161), from whom, perhaps, Dunlop borrowed it. Yet, 
according to Schmidt, no such story is found, either in Boccaccio, or in 
Queen Margaret's " Heptameron," nor, according to Liebrecht, in the 
Contes Nouvelles et Joyeux Devis of her chamberlain, Bonaventure 

CH. Ill:] TRISTAN. 209 

own choice. The lady follows the knight, but the lovers 
instantly return and demand the greyhounds, concerning 
which a similar agreement is made ; hut they, more faith- 
ful than the lady, and deaf to the voice of a stranger, 
remain with their old master. The same story is told in 
the Fabliau of the Chevalier a I'Ej^ce : and is related of 
Gauvain in the metrical romance of Perceval, but has not 
been introduced into the prose one of that name. It is 
also in the printed Lancelot, but not in the most ancient 
MS. of that romance. 

I will not say that the phrensy of Orlando has been 
imitated from that of Tristan ; but in some circumstances 
the resemblance between them is striking. Jealousy was 
the cause of both, and the paroxysms are similar. Ariosto, 
however, though perhaps through the medium of his pre- 
decessor Boiardo [see note p. 157, supra], is indebted to 
this romance for the notion of the fountains of love and 
hatred, which occasion such vissitudes in the loves of 
Einaldo and Angelica. Tristan also makes a conspicuous 
figure in the 32d canto of the Orlando Furioso, where a 
story is related concerning Tristano, which is borrowed 
from this romance. Bradamante, overtaken by night, is 
directed to a building which still retained the name of the 
Tower of Tristan. In this retreat, Clodion, the son of 
Pharamond, had confined a beauty of whom he was 
jealous. Tristan had arrived there at eve, and, being at 
first refused admission, had procured it by force of arms. 
After this the usage was established, that a knight should 
only obtain entrance if he overcame those knights who 
had found reception before his arrival, and the lady, if she 
surpassed in charms the females by whom the castle was 
already occupied. From the romance of Tristan, Ariosto 
had also borrowed the story of the enchanted horn, by 
which the husband discovers the infidelity of his wife, by 
Jiis ovm way of drinking, and which is said to have been 
originally given by Morgana to convince Arthur of the in- 
fidelity of Geneura : 

Qual gia per fare accorto il suo fratello 
Del fallo di Gineura fe Morgana; 
Chi la Moglie ha pudica bee con quello, 
Ma non vi puo gia ber chi 1' ha puttana, 
I. P 


Che 1' vin quando lo crede in bocca porre 
Tutto si sparge, e fuor nel petto scorre. 

C. 43, St. 28.^ 

In Tristan, however, the discovery is made by the Culprit's 
mode of drinking. In that romance, during one of King 
Marc's fits of jealousy, a knight, who was an enemy of 
Tristan, brings a lady to court who possesses an enchanted 
horn, which was so framed that those wives, who had been 
unfaithful to their husbands, sj)illed the hquor with which 
it was filled, in attempting to drink from it. They all 
perform so awkwardly, that Marc, in the first heat of his 
resentment, orders a bon-fire to be prepared for the general 
reception of the ladies of the court. This horn is also in- 
troduced in Perceval, but there the experiment is also tried 
on the knights. A similar trial is made on the ladies at 
the court of Arthur in the English Morte Arthur. The 
fiction, however, may be traced higher than the romance of 
Tristan. Le G-rand thinks that it has been imitated from 
the Short Mantle in one of the Fabliaux he has published, 
which was too short or too long for those ladies who had 
been false to their husbands or lovers.^ This story was 

^ "A drinking-cup will I for that assay, 

Give you (she said) of virtue strange and rare : 
Such was for Arthur made by Moi'gue the fay, 

To make him of Genevra's fault aware. 
The chaste wife's lord thereof may drink ; but they 
Drink not whose wedded partners wanton ai'e : 
For when they would the cordial beverage sup, 
Into their bosom overflows the cup." 

Rose's Version. 

In his turn Lafontaine borrows this cup from Ariosto. The lotus fur- 
nishes a somewhat similar test in the Vrihat-Katha and Tooti-Nameh. 
See Deslongchamps, Fables Indiennes, p. 107. See Supp. note on 

^ Of similar virtue was the mantle of Tegau Euvron, counted among 
the thirteen precious things of the Island of Britain. See San Marte, 
Beitrage zur Bretonischen, etc , Heldensage, p. 62. See further Graesse, 
p. 184, etc., and Von der Hagen's " Gesammtabenteuer," iii. p. Ixxxix, 
etc., upon these tests of virtue and fidelity. An old German popular 
song having reference to the same subject is quoted in Mone's " An- 
zeiger," 8, 354, No. 1. Cf. also p. 378, No. 165, Avhere twelve kings are 
unable to pass the test which is in this case a ci'own. In Basile, Penta- 
merone, iii. 4 (" Sapia Liccarda ") ; and in Flore and Blanchefleur we also 


origiually called in the Fabliaux, Le Court Mantel, but 
was translated into prose in the sixteenth century, under 
the name of Le Manteau mal taille. There is, however, a 
Breton lay, entitled Lai du Corn, by Eobert Bikez, which 
bears a nearer resemblance to the story in Tristan. A 
magical horn is brought by a boy during a sumptuous 
feast given by Arthur, which, in a similar mode, disclosed 
the same secrets as that in Tristan. The stories of the 
Mantle and the Horn have been united in an English 
baUad of the reign of Henry VI. published by Percy,^ 
entitled The Boy and the Mantle, where the cup is the 
test of a dishonoured husband, and the mantle of a faith- 
less woman. Some mode of trial on this point is common 
in subsequent romances and poems. In Perceforest [iv. 
ch. 16, 17 ; V. ch. 42] it is a rose ; in Amadis de G-aul [Hi. 
14, 15] a garland of flowers, which bloom on the head of 
her that is faithful, and fade on the brow of the incon- 
stant. The reader of Spenser is well acquainted with the 
girdle of Florimell, the former cestus of Venus. (B. 4. 
Canto V. s. 3.) 

Some experiment for ascertaining the fidelity of women 
in defect of e^^dence, seems, in reahty, to have been re- 
sorted to from the earliest ages. By the Levitical law, 
(Numbers, c. v. 11-31,) there was prescribed a proof of 
chastity, which consisted in the suspected person drinking 
water in the tabernacle. The mythological fable of the 
trial by the Stygian fountain, which disgraced the guilty 
by the waters rising so as to cover the laurel wreath of the 
unchaste female who dared the examination," probably had 
its origin in some of the early institutions of Greece or 
Egypt. Hence the notion was adopted in the Greek 
romances, the heroines of which, we have seen, were in- 

find a proof of virginity : in the first case it is a ring, and in the second 
consists in crossing a stream. See Flecke's '' Gedicht," verse 4462, etc. 
See also above, p. 40; Gesta Romanoruin, cap. 102; and Bandello, No. 
21, p. 287, Lieb.; and Grimm Rechtsalterth, p. 932, Lieb. 

^ In the Reliques, and subsequently in Bishop Percy's Folio Manic- 
script, ed. 1867, vol. ii. pp. 304-311, 

^ There was, however, no particular connexion between the Stygian 
fountain and such ordeals. The text contains rather a reminiscence of 
such passages as those in Achilles Tatius, viii. 12, and Eustathius, 
Ismenias and Ismene, xi., »!s:c. 


variably subjected to a magical test of tliis nature,^ whicli 
is one of the few particulars wherein any similarity of in- 
cident can be traced between the Greek novels and the 
romances of chivalry : the Grecian heroines, however, 
underwent the experiment in a cave, or some retii'ement,^ 
though they might have exhibited with credit openly, while 
the ladies of chivalry are always exposed in public — in a 
full court or crowded assembly ; the former, too, are only 
subjected to a trial of virginity, the latter more frequently 
to some proof of conjugal fidelity. 

We have been long detained with Tristan and Yseult ; 
it is now time that we proceed to the romance of 


in which is related the history of their son, who was the 
fruit of the interviews procured for these lovers by the 
accommodating Dinas. 

When Tristan departed for the court of Arthur, the 
queen was obliged to ask permission to make a distant 
pilgrimage. The necessity of this request conveys a most 
cruel, and, if we believe other romances, a most unfounded 
insinuation against King Marc. Yseult had proceeded no 
farther in her journey than the skirts of the forest of 
Mouris, when she gave birth to a son [ch. i. fol. ii.]. She 
sent for a hermit who resided in the vicinity, but who, 
spite of the urgency of the occasion, refused to baptize the 
child till the mother had revealed her foibles, and thus paid 
the tribute which in those days conscience owed to religion. 
He then baptized the infant by submersion in a neighbour- 
ing fountain, and called him Ysaie le Triste ; an appellation 
compounded of the names of his parents. After this the 

* See Mahly — Die Schlange in Mythus und Cultus der Classischen 
Volker. Basel, 1867, p. 13, etc. 

^ Chariciea and Ismene underwent these tests openly. See pp. 28, 
40, and 80. 

^ Sensuit I'histoire dysaie le triste, Filz de Trista de leonnois cheua- 
lier de la table ronde, et de la royne Jzeut Koyne de Cornouaille. En- 
semble les nobles prouesses de Marc I'exille filz du dit Ysaye, . . . reduit 
du viel langaige fran^oys. Several editions were published in Paris 
about 1500, and subsequently. See p. 222. 



queen returned to her husband, and the recluse carried the 
little Ysaie along with him to his hermitage [fol.iii. verso]. 

One clear moonlight evening when the hermit had retired 
to his devotions, and was kueehng before the altar, his 
attention was distracted by the sound of delightful and 
imearthly music, which he heard at a distance in the 
forest, and which gradually approached his solitary dwell- 
ing. Looking through a window which opened from this 
oratory into his cell, he perceived a group of fairies, who 
made free to light a comfortable fire, and having warmed 
themselves and washed the child, departed to the same 
tune to which they had entered [f. iv.]. 

At this visit the hermit felt considerable inquietude, for 
the fairies were not Christians ; but the benevolence with 
which they had treated the child, and their liberality in 
leaving a plentiful supply of provisions, induced him to 
consider them as such. Some nights after, his new guests 
returned, and introduced themselves in due form ; one as 
the Vigorous Fairy, another as the Courageous Fairy, &c. 
They announced that they frequently resorted to the bush 
which confined the magician Merlin, with whom they had 
lately enjoyed a full conversation on the merits of dift'erent 
knights, and other important affairs of chivalry. In par- 
ticular, Merlin had mentioned the death of Tristan, and 
recommended his child to their best attentions: accordingly 
they now endued Ysaie with the gifts which each had the 
power of bestowing, one giving him strength, another 
courage, and so forth. They also directed the hermit to 
proceed with his ward, as soon as he passed the period of 
infancy, through the G-reen Forest ; and then, on hearing 
the cock crow, they suddenly vanished. 

After some years had elapsed, the hermit set out with 
Ysaie, according to the route which had been prescribed to 
him by the fairies [ch. iv.]. Having passed through the 
Green Forest, they came to a plain, in the midst of which 
stood a fountain, and from the middle of the foimtain grew 
a tree, which shaded it with spreading branches. Around 
sat the protecting fairies, who now bestowed on Ysaie, as 
an attendant, an ill-favoured dwarf, called Tronc, whose 
personal deformity was compensated by the quickness of 
his understanding. 


Having left the fairies, chance conducted our adventurers 
to the tomb of the enchanter Merlin, whence deep groans 
were heard to issue : Tronc interrogated the voice of the 
magician, which informed them of the overthrow of Arthur 
with his chivalry, and directed his audience to proceed to 
the hermitage of Lancelot du Lac, who having alone sur- 
vived the fatal battle with Mordrec, was now the only per- 
son worthy to invest Ysaie with the order of knighthood, 
and to bestow a new Tristan on the world. In obedience 
to the exhortation of Merlin, they proceeded to the retreat 
of Lancelot ; but found on their arrival that it was no 
longer inhabited, as the knight had met in repose the 
death which had so often spared him in battle. By advice 
of the dwarf Tronc, they repaired to the tomb of Lancelot, 
where a mausoleum of noble simplicity rose in view. The 
marble which covered the body of the warrior was raised, 
and the hermit dubbed Ysaie a knight with the right arm 
of the skeleton, accompanying this ghastly inauguration 
with a harangue, which seems to form a compendium of 
the duties of knighthood : — " Chevalier, soies cruel a tes 
ennemys, debonnaire a tes amys, humble a non puissans, 
et aidez tou jours le droit a soustenir, et confons celluy qui 
tort a Vefes dames poures pucelles et orphelins ; et poures 
gens aymes toujours a ton pouoir, et avec aime toujours 
Saincte Eglise " [ch. ix.]. 

Ysaie returned to the hermitage, but the recluse having 
died after a time, he set out in quest of adventures, in aU 
which the stratagems and ingenuity of Tronc were of great* 
service to his master. The state of the country at this 
period gave ample scope for chivalrous exploits. After the 
death of Arthur, a number of petty sovereignties had been 
erected, and were maintained by cruelty and oppression. 
Ysaie, however, abolished the evil customs which had been 
established at different castles, and in their place substi- 
tuted others more consonant to the genuine spirit of 

By these means the fame of Ysaie reached the court of 
King Irion. It is not said where this monarch reigned, 
but he had a beautiful niece, called Martha. This princess 
had a strong prepossession in favour of knights, as her nurse 
had persuaded her that the bravest heroes were the most 


tender lovers. She resolved to be beloved by Ysaie, and 
immediately wrote to him on the subject [ch. xxiv.]. Our 
hero returned a favourable answer, but his speed not keep- 
ing pace with her wishes, she prevailed on her uncle to 
proclaim a tournament, in the hope that he would repair 
to the exhibition. On the eve of its celebration, while Irion 
was dining in his hall with four hundred knights and an 
equal number of ladies, and while the second course (second 
metz) was serving, the pleasure of the repast was suddenly 
interrupted by the arrival of Tronc, whom his master had 
sent on before, and who entered, to the utter amazement 
and consternation of the assembly, Car trop estoit hideux a 
merveilles. Having discovered Martha seated between two 
knights, who were clothed in black and purple, he delivered 
her a letter from Ysaie announcing his speedy approach. 

Ysaie arrived during supper at the palace of the king, 
where he knocked out the brains of the porter who refused 
him admittance. On ascending the stairs he discovered 
Martha, by whom he was received as he had reason to 
expect [ch. xxx.]. Their interview was interrupted by the 
approach of the king ; but the host, with whom Ysaie had 
taken up his cjuarters, came soon after to inform the prin- 
cess that her knight had proceeded no farther than the first 
house in the suburbs. In consequence of this intimation 
she repaired in the evening to the rendezvous, where she 
gave her lover the most decisive proofs of her benevolence. 

On the following day Ysaie, who was arrayed in white 
armour, distinguished himself at the tournaments ; but 
during the entertainment by which they were succeeded, 
a defiance was brought from the giant, styling himself 
Lord of the Black Forest, addressed to Ysaie in his cha- 
racter of reformer of abuses, and declaring that he (the 
giant) meant to persevere in the practice which he had 
hitherto observed, of delivering all ladies whom he caught 
within his jurisdiction to his grooms (varlets de chevaulx), 
and afterwards throwing them into the ditch surrounding 
his castle, which, as the romancer very justly remarks, 
** Estoit la plus laide coustume du monde." 

Our hero proceeded to destroy this monster, and on 
the road conversed with Tronc on his late happiness ; who, 
it would appear, had little cause to rejoice at the amorous 


success of his master: — '* Je en suis Je," says he, " moulu 
et dechire. Les Fees, vos amies et protectrices, m'ont fait 
chierement payer vos j^laisirs ; ores dansiez vous aux noj^ces 
et payois Je les violons ; et disoient elles que en ma chair 
devois Je resentir le tort que avoit la votre." 

While Ysaie was engaged in discomfiting the giant, and 
in making converts by force of arm to the true faith, the 
Princess Martha had felt the consequences of a frank letter 
and an imprudent rendezvous. King Irion pardoned her 
transgression, and indeed swore " Par Saincte croix si c'est 
du chevalier au blanc escu Je ne fus oncques si joyeulx." 
But, however much gratified by hearing that it was the 
white- shielded knight, he could not help expressing his 
astonishment that Ysaie, having passed only twenty-four 
hours in his territories, should have employed them in 
knocking down his porter and seducing his niece. 

Martha having given birth to a son, who was called Marc 
[ch. xl.], adopted, though somewhat late, the intention of 
uniting herself in marriage to Ysaie. With this view she 
set out in quest of him, disguised as a minstrel, and 
wandered from tower to tower singing lays expressive of 
her i^ain and her passion : — " Lors tire la harpe et la 
trempe, et puis commence a harper si melodieusement que 
c'estoit merveilles a ouyr. Et puis chantoit avec ce tant 
bien que le palays en retentissoit." On one occasion she 
poured forth her melody at the gates at the castle of 
Argus, where Ysaie happened at that time to reside. Un- 
fortunately she was recognised by Tronc, who, still mindful 
of the chastisement of the fairies, informed her, after 
having disguised himself, that Ysaie had gone to the next 
town, and that she would easily overtake him [ch. xlv.]. 

While Martha thus wastes her steps and her music, her 
son Marc passed the period of infancy : " Et bien saichez 
que c'estoit le -pyre de son aage que oncques fust veu. Si 
vous diray en quelle maniere ; de prime face quant le E.oy 
mengeoit il venoit a la table et espandoit le vin et tiroit 
la nappe et les hanaj)s a luy et boutoit tout a terre : Et 
puis venoit en la cuisine et respandoit les pots. Aux petis 
enfans faisait il tant de hont que c'estoit merveilles. Le 
roy avoit avec luy ung sien nepveu fils de son frere : une 
heure regardoit en la court dedans ung puis ; Marc le leva 


par les piez et le bouta dedans, et fut noye. Quant le Eoy 
Irion le sceut si en fust moult courroucc." It was no 
wonder then that the knight, " qui I'endoetrinoit," com- 
plained to the king, " que c'est la j^lus cruelle piece de 
chair qui oncques nasquit de mere. Et vous ditz, que se 
tantost ne fais oye ce que il dist il meteroit hors par les 
fenestres de la tour : Et sachez que au jour de I'escremie 
il a tuc vostre Boutillier, et ung des maistres d' hostel. 
Mon Dieu, fait le Roy Irion, J'estoye tout esbahy que Je 
ne les veoye plus aller ne venir." The king on receiving 
this account sends for his nephew, and instead of repri- 
manding him, " Beau nepveu, fait le roy, Je suis desormais 
ancien liomme et tout maladif , et vous etes fort, et puissant 
et saige ; se vous voulez, si vouldroye que par le conseil des 
saiges que gouvernissiez mon royaume en contester contre 
tons ceux qui mal vouldroyent faire." 

The first exercise of power on the part of tliis wise 
young prince was to proclaim a tournament, during which 
he displayed more courage than courtesy. The knights 
and courtiers of King Irion, being jealous of the authority 
of a prince whose recommendation to sovereign power 
seems to have consisted in his dexterity in throwing chil- 
dren into wells, and beating out the brains of butlers, 
entered into a conspiracy against him, of which the plot is 
so singular, and so similar to the stories of haunted apart- 
ments in modern romance, that I have thought it deserv- 
ing of a place in the Appendix.^ 

After Marc had triumphed over all the machinations of 
his enemies, and foiled Satan by a good shrift, intelligence 
arrived that the Amiral of Persia had just landed in 
Britain, accompanied by his nephew, the king of Nubia, 
surnamed the Red Lion ; as also by the kings of Castille, 
Seville, and Arragon, who had all sworn by Mahomet and 
Tervagant that they would not return to their own country 
till they had extirpated Christianity [ch. Iviii.]. 

It would appear that the Saracen commander had 
divided his army into two portions. A few troops pro- 
ceeded against the capital of Irion, but the main body, 
under the orders of the Amiral in person, remained near 

^ See Appendix, No. 7. 


tlie coast on wliicli they liad disembarked. Marc ad- 
vanced against the latter division, which, with the assist- 
ance of a few peasants, he totally defeated. After the 
engagement he found the beautiful Orimonda, daughter of 
the Amiral, reposing in the pavilion of her father. He 
conducts this princess as a trophy to his tent, sups with 
her, baptizes her, and promises to espouse her on his 
return to the court of King Irion, but meanwhile jDrevails 
on her to invert the usual ceremonies which constitute a 
legal marriage : — 

II n est vien de si doux pour des coeurs pleins de gloire, 
Que la paisible nuit qui suit une victoire ; 
Dormir sur un trophee est un charmant repos, 
Et le champ de bataille est le lict d'un heros. 

Scudery, Alaric. c. x. 1. 1-4. 

Next morning the son of Tsaie set out in pursuit of the 
remaining Saracen army, but his father had been before- 
hand with him. Ysaie had proceeded with great rapidity 
in the work of conversion ; but as he had nearly extirpated 
the native infidels, he was much delighted with this fresh 
supply, which he had, accordingly attacked and defeated 
under the walls of the capital of King Irion. The father 
and son, equally victorious, met and recognised each 
other on the field of battle, where Orimonda was presented 
by Marc to his father. A moment of yet greater transport 
was reserved. Tronc being now associated to Marc in the 
adventures he undertook, it was partly by his means that 
Martha was delivered from traitors, who were leading her 
to death, and finally restored to the arms of Ysaie [ch. xci.]. 

The posterity of Tristan were thus happy and united. 
The nuptials of the father and son were celebrated, and 
the son was knighted by the father. During the festival 
that ensued, the protecting fairies again appeared. To the 
faithful Tronc a recompence was still wanting. They in- 
formed him that he had the good fortune to belong to 
their family, being the son of JuHus Caesar by their eldest 
sister the Fairy Morgana. Strange events, which are 
written in the Chronicles of Fairies, had forced him to 
endure a long and severe penance. His auncs the fairies, 
in order to enable him to pass the time more agreeably, 
had transformed him into a hideous dwarf, and linked 


him to the fate of their protege. But the period of dis- 
grace was at length expired. The fairies cleansed him 
from his deformities, and he now appeared the handsomest 
prince in the world, as he had formerly been the most 
witty and ingenious. The smallness of his stature, which 
did not exceed three feet, was the only imperfection that 
remained. His aunts bestowed on him a kingdom, and 
in this new form and dignity he was known by the title of 
Aubron [Oberon], under which denomination he performed 
many wonders, related in the beautiful romance of Huon 
of Bordeaux. Before departing for the Vergier des Fees, 
where he was about to establish his empire, he left with 
Ysaie a magic horn, which is the origin of that in Huon : — 
" Or quant Tronc fut baptize se dist a Ysaie — tenez ce cor 
sur Yous et le portez ; si vous avez besoing vous ou Marc 
si le sonnez, mais gardez yous bien que point ne le sonnez 
si ce n'est pour grant besoing, et Je yous Yiendray aider 
et secourir." 

The romance of Ysaie deriYcs its chief excellence from 
the singular character of Tronc — his attachment, wit, and 
endless resources. His fidelity is the same to Ysaie and 
Marc, whose behaYiour to him is singularly contrasted ; by 
the former, who is a more polished warrior, he is iuYariably 
treated with tenderness and respect; while he is often 
driYen from the presence of his impetuous son, and reminded 
that he is " trop defigure, trop hideux a Yeoir, et plus 
laide creature du monde." 

Ysaie le Triste has also received much novelty from 
Tronc' s relatives the fairies, as it is the first tale of 
chivalry in which they are introduced acting a decided 
part. This new species of machinery has given rise to 
gorgeous descriptions, and pictures of magnificence, hitherto 
unknown. The representation of the Vergier des Fees, 
which Tronc and Ysaie visit in the course of their adven- 
tures, is perhaps the richest and most splendid in ro- 
mance. — " And the while they spake Marc beholds a great 
valley and at the end thereof trees in marvellous abun- 
dance ; and there birds sang so sweetly that it was delight 
to hear. And Marc stopped a little, that he might hear 
maidens singing so doucely that he was amazed, for he 
had never before seen the like, and therewith harmonized 


sucli sweet melody that all hearts found pleasure therein. 
. . . But neither dames nor damosels did they see, nor 
any being; and there was such a lovely mead as was 
solace to behold, for all manner of goodly flowers and 
aromatic herbs were there, and there blossomed there such 
a sweetness that all hearts must fain find pleasure therein. 
He rode forward a little and came to a very beautiful 
orchard enclosed by a little wall built of divers kinds of 
precious stones, and all round was a vigne wholly of gold 
having grapes wholly of emeralds ; and in this orchard 
was set a table, and the trestles thereof were of jet, and 
the table itself of jasper, and the tableclothe of white silk 
so cunningly worked as it was marvellous to look on ; and 
near unto the table was a beautiful dresser the which was 
all laden with precious stones, and a great plenty of costly 
jewels ; and near thereto was a little low fountain which 
was of topaz, whereunto the water flowed in a conduit of 
ruby, and it was so clear that no other water might com- 
pare therewith ; and when the fountain was full the water 
issued therefrom by a conduit which was of crystal, and 
entered into the earth so cunningly that no man might 
perceive. And on the other side of the garden was a bed, 
wherof the stead was of ivory carved and cunningly 
wrought into great images, and therein was contained the 
historic of Lancelot and the Dame du lac, and it was 
covered with a great cloth of divers colours cunningly in- 
terwoven, and there were there broidered so many histories 
that the eyes were dazzled therewith." [c. Ixxx.] 

It is the introduction of fairies, and the frequently re- 
curring descriptions of those splendid wonders they pro- 
duce, or by which they are attended, that induce me to 
place the composition of this romance in the end of the 
fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth century, which is 
a century and a half later than the date of Tristan. In 
that work, in Lancelot du Lac, and other romances of the 
E-ound Table, there are no doubt fairies, but they are of a 
different species from the protectresses of Ysaie. They are 
merely women, as Morgain or Vivian, instructed in magic. 
They indeed have all hell at their command, can perform 
the greatest miracles, and occasion to any one the severest 
misfortunes. All this, however, is accomplished by inter- 


mediate ao^ency, and they are only formidable by the inter- 
vention of demons, with whom they have formed advanta- 
geous connections : bnt the second class of fairies, as those 
in the romance of Ysaie, were self- supported beings — they 
were a species of nymph or divinity, and possessed a power 
inherent in themselves. Nor were these creatures merely 
the offspring of the imagination of romancers, but were be- 
lieved to exist in the age in which they wrote. At a period 
much later than the composition of Ysaie, the first ques- 
tion asked of the Maid of Orleans, in the process carried 
on against her, was, if she had any familiarity with those 
who resorted to the Sabat of the fairies, or if she had ever 
attended the assemblies of the fairies held at the fontaine 
des Groseillers beneath the shade of the Arbre aux Fees 
near Domremy, round which the evil spirits danced ; and 
the Journal of Paris, in the reigns of Charles VI. and VII. 
states, that she acknowledged that, in spite of her father 
and mother, she had frequented the beautiful fountain of 
the fairies in Lorraine, which she named the good fountain 
of the fairies of our Lord. 

There are other circumstances, besides the machinery of 
^ fairies, which may lead us to assign a late period to the 
composition of Ysaie ; as, for instance, the introduction of 
Saracens, instead of Saxons, as enemies of the heroes of the 
romance. The French is also evidently more modern, being 
much less difiicult, but also less energetic, than the lan- 
guage of Tristan or Lancelot. It is true, that the romance, 
as now extant, is said in the title to be "redige et reforme 
en commun langaige vulgaire." The pretended Eedacteur 
professes to have adhered to the story " selon I'intention 
du premier hystoriographe ; " but he declares that "I'ori- 
ginal estoit en si estrange et maulvais langaige mis et couche 
que a grant peine en ay peu entendre le sens et elucider la 
forme de la matiere." All this, however, was probably as- 
serted in order to give the stamp of authority, and I have 
Uttle doubt that the language and story of this romance 
are of the same antiquity. " The romance of Ysaie," say 
the authors of the Bibliothcque des Eomans, " is as infe- 
rior to those by which it was preceded, in characters, sen- 
timents, and incidents, as in language; yet the history of 
Ysaie offers many interesting situations, and presents many 


coups de theatre : but what renders it chiefly valuable is, 
that it makes us acquainted with the difference of manners 
which prevailed in the beginning of the twelfth and end of 
the fourteenth century. The world, which is so readily 
accused of growing worse, had no doubt wondei-fully de- 
generated in point of chivalry, at least during these three 
centuries. At the conclusion of that period, too, the 
deepest shades of ignorance had gathered, and mankind 
were strangers to all dehcacy of sentiment. The knights, 
indeed, still fought with courage, and hence the writers of 
romance continued to describe the most terrible combats. 
Principles of honour yet existed in the heart of the Cheva- 
lier, but they were concealed under a rude exterior. Devo- 
tion was fervent and sincere, but it was ill understood and 
worse directed. All this will be remarked in the history of 

This romance is also one of the scarcest of the class to 
which it belongs, which is strong evidence of its fancied in- 
feriority. As far as I know, it is one of the few romances 
which never appeared in a metrical form. There is no 
MS. of it extant, and there have been but few editions, — 
one printed at Paris, 1522, small folio, Gallyot du Pre, and 
two others, 4to., without date, by Philippe le Noir, and J. 
Bonfons, and according to Duverdier another 4to. without 
date at Lyons, by Olivier Arnoullet. 

The romance of 

Arthur ^ 

contains little more than the events of which we have al- 
ready given an account in the preceding fabulous stories of 
the knights of the Round Table. The incidents, however, 
are better arranged, and presented in one view. It com- 

^ Le Koman du Roy Artus et des compagnons de la Table Ronde, &c. 
Such is the indication of the title given by Dunlop. The work meant 
seems to be the " Tierce partie de Lancelot du Lac .... compile 
et extraict precisement et au juste des vrayes histoires faisantes de 
ce mencion, par tres notable homme et tres expt historien maistre 
Gaultier map, et imprime a Paris par Jehan du pre. En la de grace 
mil. cccc. iiii. xx. et viii. le xvi. iour de septembre." See supra, note to 
Lancelot, p. 185, and Ward, Cat. i., p. 347. 

CH. III.] ARTHUR. 223 

prebends the history of the Round Table, of which Arthur 
was the founder, or at least the restorer, and gives an ac- 
count of that monarch from his birth to the period of his 
trai^ical death. 

The authors of the Bibliotheque inform us, with most 
absurd credulity (or rather solemn irony perhaps), that 
this romance was written by one of the Sire Clerks or an- 
nalists of the Round Table : they even fix on the name of 
the author of Artus, and assert that it was Arrodian de 
Cologne, who, they say, retired with Lancelot du Lac into 
his hermitage after the defeat of Arthur. They argue, 
that it is impossible to assign an earlier origin to the ro- 
mance, as it gives an accoimt of the catastrophe of almost 
all the knights of the Round Table. — " Selon toute apparence, 
ces chroniqueurs sont les Sires Clercs, ou officiers historiens 
et annalistes de cette premiere chevalerie du monde. Nous 
Savons meme leurs noms, et Von petit conjecturer, que c'est 
ici I'ouvrage du premier d'entre eux, nomme Arrodian 
de Cologne. On croit qu'il se retira avec Lancelot du Lac, 
dans un meme hermitage, apres la terrible defaite ou peri- 
rent le Roy Artus, et la i^lus grande partie de ses chevaliers. 
La preuve que cette chronique ne fut terminee qu'apres 
*cette catastrophe c'est qu'on y voit la fin de presque tons 
ces hcros." 

In the body of the work itseK, it is said to have been 
written by Gualtier Map ; it was printed at Paris, 1488, 
foho, by Jehan du Pre. 

After a narrative of the events connected with the birth 
and succession of Arthur to the kingdom, which have been 
formerly related in the Book of Merlin, the romance in- 
forms us that he drove the Saxons out of his dominions, 
by which means he secured the public peace ; but he still 
continued to receive much disquiet from his own family. 
His four nephews, especially G-auvain, on pretence of the 
illegitimacy of their uncle, refused to acknowledge him as 
king. He defeated them in the field by his own skill and 
the sagacity of Merlin, and afterwards so far conciliated 
their favour by his bravery and good conduct, that they 
became the most faithful of his vassals. 

Arthur then set out with his knights to the assistance of 
Laodogant, King of Carmelide in Scotland. This i)rince 


had been attacked by King Eyon,^ a man of a disposition 
so malevolent that lie bad formed to himself a project of 
possessing a mantle furred with the beards of those kings 
he should conquer. He had calculated with the grand- 
master of his wardrobe that a full royal cloak would re- 
quire forty beards : he had already vanquished five kings, 
and reckoned on a sixth beard from the chin of Laodogant. 
Arthur and his knights totally deranged this calculation by 
defeating King E-yon. Laodogant, in return for the assis- 
tance he had received, offered his daughter, the celebrated 
Geneura,^ in marriage to Arthur. Merlin, however, who 
does not appear to have been a flattering courtier, and who 
does not seem to have attached to the conservation of 
Laodogant' s beard the im23ortance that it merited, declared 
that his master must first deserve the princess. In obedi- 
ence to his oracle and enchanter, Arthur, in order to quahfy 
himself for the nuptials, made an expedition to Britany, 
where he defeated Claudas, king of Berri, who had un- 
provokedly attacked a vassal of the British monarch. 

After this exploit, Arthur returned to the court of 
Laodogant, where preparations were now made for his 
union with Geneura. This princess is described as the 

^ King Ryon and his mantle are mentioned in a Welsh legend (San 
Marte, " Beitraege zur bretonischen .... Heldensage," p. 60, and by 
Geoffrey of Monmouth, Hist. Reg. Brit. x. c. 3, where he is called 
Eython, in Merlin (pt. ii. fol. 105), in the Roman de Brut, v, 11957, etc. 
where his name is wi'itten Riton, and in the Chevalier aux deux Epees, 
where he appears as Ris. See Leroux de Lincy on this passage in the 
Brut. — LiEB. 

^ The beauty of the Queen Geneura or Guenever is a constant theme 
with the old romancers, and appears to rest on historical tradition. In the 
Welsh version of Ywaine and Gawaine, edited by Lady Charlotte Guest, 
in the Mabinogion, the expression, " more lovely than Gwenhwyvar," 
occurs, p. 42 ; and she is celebrated in the Triads as one of the three fair 
ladies of Arthur's court. In the Latin chronicle of Geoffrey, lib. ix. cap. 9, 
the queen is equally praised for her beauty and courteous manners, and 
this is repeated by Wace and his translators, or imitators. The most 
naive and elaborate personal description of her appearance is given in 
the very rare Roman de Merlin, vol. i. f. cxxxvii. See also another 
passage quoted by Southey in his notes on Morte d' Arthur, vol. ii. 
p. 462. Her yzen gray (yeux vaires) are mentioned; such were con- 
sidered in the times of romances as undoubted characteristics of beauty. 
See examples (out of many) in the Erie of Zolous ap. Ritson. metr. rom. 
iii. 107. Lawnful, ibid. i. 209. Thomas of Ersyldoune ap. Laing pop. 
poetr. 1. 89. 

CH. III.] ARTHUR. 225 

finest woman in tlie universe — her stature was noble and 
elegant — her complexion fair, and her eyes the finest blue of 
the heavens : the expression of her countenance was lively 
yet dignified, but sometimes tender — her understanding, 
naturally just, was well cultivated — her heart was feehng, 
compassionate, and capable of the most exalted sentiments. 

On the second day of the tournaments (for without 
these no great festival was exhibited,) an unknown knight, 
of a ferocious aspect, came to defy the combatants. He 
entered the lists, but was speedily unhorsed by Arthur, 
and afterwards slain by him in mortal combat (comhat a 
oidrance.) This knight was, after his death, discovered to 
be King Ryon, by the mantle which he carried under his 
cuirass, half furnished with the spoils of vanquished 

Arthur, after his return to England with his bride, re- 
established the Round Table, which was trans23orted from 
Scotland, for King Laodogant had it in deposit since the 
death of liter, the father of Arthur. Merlin dictated the 
laws and regulations of this renowned association.^ The 
kings of Scotland and Norway, the princes of Armorica and 
Graul, disdained not to pay a species of tribute to the Eng- 
lish monarch, in order to be admitted into this celebrated 
society. The gloiy of the institution was completed by 
Pharamond, the king of the Franks, and conqueror of 
Gaul, arriving incognito in Britain to obtain, by his prowess 
and exploits, a seat at this renowned board. 

The knights of the Round Table had no exterior and 
characteristic mark of their order, but each had a peculiar 
device and motto of his own.^ Thus Arthur carried for 

' In the Melanges tires d'une grande Bibliotheque, it is stated that the 
statutes of the Round Table are not found in any of the Arthurian 
romances, but occur in the second volume of Anadis, the Knight of the 
Sun."' Schmidt Wiener Jahrbuch. Bd. 29, p. 104, quoted by Liebrecht. 

* A curious little book is devoted to this subject ; its title runs : La 
devise des Armes des Chevaliers de la Table Ronde qui estoient du 
temps du tresrenome et vertueux Artus roy de la grant Bretaigne. 
Avec la descriptiu de leurs armoiries. Paris (? 1520), 16mo. An 
English translation was published at London in 1583, entitled : The 
Auncient Order Societie and Unitie laudable of Prince Arthure, etc. 
The genealogy of the heroes of Arthurian and Carlovingian romance is 
given in Ferrario's " Storia ed Analisi degli antichi romanzi di Caval- 
leria," &c. Milano, 1828, 1829, 8vo; and in a little volume: Tables 

I. Q 


his arms thirteen golden crowns, with the motto Moult de 
couronnes -phis de vertus. 

Lancelot du Lac had six bends of or and azure — Haut en 
naissance en vaillance en amour. 

His brother Hector of Mares a golden star — Pour etre 
heureux un bel astre sufiit. 

King Pharamond bore the Fleur de Lis — Que de beaux 
fruits de ces fleurs doivent naitre. 

After the institution of the Round Table, Arthur con- 
ceived the design of obtaining possession of the Sangreal ; 
but this precious relic, according to the oracles, could only 
be acquired by a knight who had a very rare qualification, 
and Perceval, it seems, was the only one whose purity of 
morals fitted him for this enterprise. 

The story of the false G-eneura, the credulity of Arthur, 
and the final triumph of the queen, which has been men- 
tioned in the account of Lancelot, is fully related in the 
romance of Arthur. 

After G-eneura was reinstated in the affections of her 
husband, the glory and domestic feHcity of Arthur seem to 
have been at their height, but the period of the destruction 
of the first chivalry in the world was now fast apj^roaching. 
Mordred, the son of Arthur, by the Queen of Orkney, dis- 
puted the right of succession with the nephews of that 
monarch. Arthur sustained the claims of his nephew 
Gauvain against this unworthy and illegitimate son, and 
Mordred assembled under his banners all those who had 
solicited and had been refused admittance to the Round 
Table. Some of the knights of Arthur were still engaged 
with Perceval in the conquest of the Sangreal ; the rest 
defended themselves with unexampled valour, but Arthur 
and his chivalry were finally overthrown. The Saracens/ 

genealogiques des heros des romans (? Paris, 1794); and the arms and 
devices are prefixed to Gyron le Courtois. 

1 Mordred and his allies included Saracens. This appears to be a 
most important feature of the transition into the succeeding cycle of 
romances. In the earlier stories of the Round Table, Arthur's external 
foes are Saxons, not Saracens. Schmidt Wien. Jahrb. Bd. 29, p. 103. 
Graesse, p. 242. It is still doubtless Saxons that are signified under 
the term Saracens, the romaiicists classing all heathens indiscriminately 
under this name. See Sir W. Scott, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, 
vol. i. p. 270. Note i. ed. Baudry (On the Fairies of Popular Supersti- 
tion, sect, iii.), and Percy's " Reliques," note on the Ballad of King 

CH. III.] ARTHUR. 227 

who supported Mordred, reached the division commanded 
by the king. Arthur was overpowered bv numbers and 
mortally wounded ; his faithful squire, Goifled, who saw 
him expire, carried off his famous sword Escalibor, and 
threw it into a lake. Lancelot, who in the romance of his 
own name does not arrive in England till after this battle, 
had meanwhile attacked the battalion which Mordred com- 
manded, put it to flight, and pursued its leader to the sea- 
shore. There he overtook him, and plunged his sword into 
his bosom. Lancelot having routed his whole host, re- 
turned exulting to the tents of Arthur, where he learned 
the fate of his sovereign. After these events the beautiful 
G-eneura retired to a convent, and Lancelot closed his life 
in a hermitage. 

It appears strange at first sight, that Arthur and his 
knights should be represented in romance as falling in 
battle, as well as Charlemagne with all his peerage, at a 
time when success in war was thought necessary to com- 
plete the character of a warrior. But the same fate has 
been attributed to all the fabulous chiefs of half-civilized 
nations, who have invariably represented their favourite 
leaders as destroyed by a concealed and treacherous enemy. 
Achilles, at least according to the fables of the middle age, 
was thus slain by Paris ; and Rustan, the great Persian 
hero, fell a victim to the snares of Bahaman, the son of 
his mortal foe Isfendar. This has probably arisen from 
2)oets and romancers wishing to spare their heroes the 
suspicion of having died in bed by the languor of disease, 
to which any violent death is preferred by barbarous 
nations. — " He'll be strapped up on the kind gallows of 
Crieff, where his father died, and his goodsire died, and 
where I hope he'll live to die himself, if he's not shot or 
slashed in a creagh." " You hope such a death for your 
friend, Evan?" "And that do I e'en; would you have 
me wish him to die in yon den of his, like a mangy tyke ? " 
— (Waverley, ch. xviii.) 

But though Arthur was universally believed to have 

Estmere (Series i. B. i.). Similarly in King Home, the Pagan Danes 
arc called '• Saracens." See Thomas Wright, St. Fatrick's Purgatory, 
p. 14. Lond, 1844. In the Chanson des Saxons, composed by Jean 
Bode! in the reign of Philippe Auguste (1 1 HO- 1223), the Saxons are also 
represented us worshippers of" Mahomet. — Lieu. 


been discomfited, and was by some supposed to have 
perisbed in the battle with Mordred ; the expectation of his 
return to restore the Round Table, and to rule over Britain, 
was long and fondly cherished in Wales. Alanus de In- 
sulis, who was born in 1109, says, that if any one were 
heard in Bretagne to deny that Arthur was yet alive, he 
would be stoned.^ This tradition formed a favourite sub- 

* Prophetia Anglicana (Merlini) . . . una cum septem libris explana- 
tionum in eandem prophetiara Alani de Insulis, etc., 1. iii. c. 26. 
According to Juan del Castillo (Historia de los Reyes Godos que 
rinieron a Espana, Madrid, 1624, p. 365), it was reported that Philip II. 
was obliged at his espousals with Mary of England to swear to forego 
his claims to the English throne in case of Arthur's return. Cf. Don 
Quixote, 1. c. 13. F. W. V. Schmidt. — Lieb. See in the note on 
Geoffrey of Monmouth, p. 138, the treatment of the monks of Laon in 
the church at Bodmin. 

The reader is at once reminded of the ready popular belief accorded 
to such pretenders as Perkin Warbeck, and many others, who have 
claimed to be the bearers of esteemed and favourite names ; various other 
popular legends bear witness to a similar expectation. See Grimm, 
Deutsche Myth. 2nd ed. p. 903, and English ed., p. 961. Graesse, 
p. 341, note. Cf. also the Breton Saga of Morvan Lez-Breiz (Ville- 
marque, Barzaz-Breiz, vol. i. No. 12). The North American story of 
Rip van Winkle, in W. Irving's " Sketch-book." 

The people is not ungrateful to its benefactors and heroes, and pre- 
serves the memory of the traits of its darlings inefifaceably laid up in 
the heart. It is loath to admit that death can have taken them away 
for ever, and loves to cherish the idea that they are still alive and will 
return in an hour of the country's need. Who does not know the tradi- 
tion that Frederick Barbarossa still sits at a stone table in the Kyffhauser 
Mountains, with his long red beard euA^eloping in mighty coils the legs 
of the table ? (See Massmann Kaiser Friedrich im Kytfenhauser, Qued- 
linburg, 1850.) The Serbs deny that their champion Kraljevic Marco is 
dead, and maintain that he is asleep in a cave in Sumadia, until the 
hour of Serbia's delivery shall arrive. They say that he retired thither 
after he had seen the first firearms, bewailing the victory of cunning 
over courage, and the unavailingness of bravery and heroism, since now 
the most tottering coward could lay low the bravest warrior from a vile 
lurking place. There he sleeps on, stretched out by the side of his 
hoi-se, which is eating green moss from a golden manger. His Handzar 
unrusted hangs from the wall. In the hour of action it will fall, and 
wake the hero by the noise of falling, who will then arise and liberate 
the Serbs. 

The Moravian country-folk still hope for the return of the lost 
prince-child Jecminek, as the Bohemian peasant still looks for St. Wenzel 
and his hosts on Mount Blanik. The announcement of the death of the 
great friend of the people, Joseph II., was received in Bohemia with 
widespread incredulity. It was said that the clergy had kidnapped him 

CH. III.] ARTHUR. 229 

ject of the legends of the bards ; and on his imaginary 
tomb there was inscribed, 

Hie jacet Arthurus rex quondam rexqiie futurus. 

The behef in Arthur's return probably originated ^ with the 
stories in the romance of Lancelot, and other tales of 
chivahy, concerning his disappearance with liis sister 
Morgana, after the battle ; some of which bear a striking 
resemblance to what Homer tells us of Sarpedon, that 
Apollo washed his wounds in a stream, anointed them with 
ambrosia, and having clothed him in ambrosial garments, 
delivered him to the care of Sleep, to be conveyed to 
Lycia. But though no doubt was entertained as to the re- 
appearance of Arthur, very different notions prevailed with 
regard to his state of intermediate being. According to 
some traditions, he drove through the air in a chariot -vNdth 
prodigious noise and velocity ; ^ while, according to others, 

from Vienna, and were keeping him in prison in Rome ; it was but a 
wax effigy of the monarch that was exposed in the vault of the Capuchins 
at Vienna. For many years it was reported in Bohemia that pilgrims 
had seen in the neighbourhood of Rome a poorly-clad silver-haired old 
man, who had told them he was the Emperor Joseph II., and was even 
then returning from captivity to his dominions. At a subsequent time 
he was believed to be a prisoner at Kunradic, and numbers of credulous 
dupes were found to subscribe money for his ransom. See the Bohemia 
quoted in the Berlin Voss Zeitung, of March 2, 1849. Liebrecht 
quotes rather more in extenso. Note also the traditions of return asso- 
ciated with the Khalif Mansur, Charlemagne, Ogier le Dannois, the 
Slavonic Sviatopolk, the Irish Earl Desmond, and Sebastian I. of 
Brazil, who are at some future day to reappear in the flesh, vanquish 
their enemies, and claim their own. 

^ The verse given in the text is only one of several epitaphs, said to 
have been found on Arthur's tomb. See an article by Raulin Paris, in 
Romania I., on the Romances of the Round Table. The supposed dis- 
covery of Arthurs grave may have been a stratagem favoured by 
Henry II., to whose policy, of course, the belief in Arthur's return was 
directly opposed. The identification of the mysterious Celtic land of 
the Hcsperides with Glastonbury (the Bury of the family Glastinga), 
the Altic Avallon, AflFelwyn, or Isle of Apples, has no better foundation 
than a passage in Geoffrey of ^lonmouth. See note, supra, p. 170. 

' The so-called Arthur's Chace, similar to the nocturnal rides of the 
wild huntsman in Germany, in reference to which may be consulted 
Graesse, p. 64, note * * (Literarg, Bd. 2, § .'i) ; Grimm, Teutonic Mytho- 
logy, ch. xxxi. ; also the account of the Hessian trooper, or headless horse- 
man, in the State of New York, in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, given in 
Washington Irving's " Sketch-book ; " note by Graesse on Rausanias, i. 


he had assumed the shape of a raven/ a bird which it be- 

32, § 3, at p. 893, and at p. 895, on Villemarque's " Barzaz-Breiz," 
vol. i. No. 8. Schwarz-Schulprogramm des Friedrich-Werderschen 
Gymnasium in Berlin, 1850, p. 8, etc. See also Graesse, upon Arthur's 
transformation into a raven, p. 162. (Connection between Herodias and 
the Wild Huntsman, see Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, pp. 883, 933 ; also 
Bock, L'Amphitheatre de Constantinople, Bruxelles, 1849, p. 55, note). 
Akin to these legends is that of the Irish O'Donoghue, whose name 
is so closely associated with Killamey .... either up the mountain, 
along the valleys, upon the water, or in any one of the islands, you are 
sure to find some object connected with it; every rock of unusual form 
is forced into an illustration of the story ; the guides and boatmen will 
point out to the tourist O'Donoghue's horse, O'Donoghue's prison, his 
stable, his library, his pigeon-house, his table, his cellar, his honeycombs, 
his pulpit, his broom ; and almost on the summit of lofty Mangerton, a 
huge stone is described as the shaft of his jaunting-car, which he broke 
one night returning from a revel with the arch enemy, who, to give a 
fitting reception to his gallant guest, had filled for that night the 
" Devil's Punch Bowl" with the genuine dew of the mountain. Scores 
of the peasantry may be encountered who have as firm a belief in the 
existence of the spirit-chieftain as they have in their own. Although 
its variations are numerous, the original story may be told in a few 
words. In ages long past, O'Donoghue of Ross was lord of the lake, its 
islands, and the surrounding land. His sway was just and generous, 
and his reign propitious ; he was the sworn foe of the oppressor ; he 
was brave, hospitable, and wise. Annually since his death, or rather 
disappearance, he is said to revisit the pleasant places among which he 
lived .... Every May morning he may be seen gliding over the lake 
mounted on a white steed, richly caparisoned, preceded and followed by 
youths and maidens who strew spring flowers in his way ; while sounds 
of unearthly sweetness glide along the waters, and become thunder as 
they make their way up the surrounding hills. Although he appears 
in state only on May morning, he is seen on various other occasions ; 
and luck}' is the child of earth by whom the immortal spirit is en- 
countered ; for be he peer or peasant, good fortune is sure to wait upon 
him, etc. See " Ireland, its Scenery, Character," etc., by Mr. and Mrs. 
S. C. Hall, part iv. pp. 192, etc., where the belief is regarded as a real 
phenomenon due to mirage. Similarly the chieftain Desmond, who 
perished in Elizabeth's reign, is believed to emerge once in seven years 
from his sublacustrine palace, and ride, armed at all points, round the 
waters of Lough Gur. It would scarcely be wonderful if the midnight 
rides of the late King of Bavaria gave rise to some local legend. See 
also note to Boccaccio (Dec. v. 8). 

^ Or according to the Cornish tradition, that of a red-legged chough 
( Trcgilus graculus) now seldom seen. 

" And mark yon bird so black of wing, 

Talons and beak all red with blood. 

The spirit of the long lost king 

Passed in that shape from Camlan's flood." 

R. S. Hawker, Vicar of Morwinstow. — H. Jenner. 


came a capital crime in Wales to destroy. It was more 
generally fabled that he remained in subterraneous exis- 
tence, a superstition alluded to by Milton : 

" Arthur, their chief, who even now prepares 
In subterraneous being future wars." 

Milton. [Mansus, V. 81.] ' 

The various traditions concerning the disappearance and 
coming of this fabulous monarch, have been embodied in 
Warton's " Grave of King Arthur," and are represented as 
simg by the Welsh bards, for the amusement of Henry II., 
when he passed through their country on an expedition to 
Ireland : — 

" Then gifted bai-ds, a rival throng, 
From distant Mona, nurse of song ; 
From Teivi, fringed with umbrage brown, 
From Elvy's vale and Cadei*'s crown, 
From many a sunless solitude 
Of Kadnors inmost mountains rude ; 
From many a shaggy precipice. 
That shades lerne's hoarse abyss, 
To crown the banquet's solemn close, 
Themes of British glory chose. 

" O'er Cornwall's clififs the tempest roared, 

High the screaming seamew soared ; 

On TintaggeFs topmost tower. 

Darksome fell the sleety shower, 

When Arthur ranged his red-cross ranks 

On conscious Camlan's crimsoned banks, 

By Mordred's faithless guile decreed, 

Beneath a Saxon spear to bleed ! 

Yet, in vain, a Paynim foe 

Armed with fate the mighty blow ; 

For when he fell, an Eltin Queen, 

All in secret and unseen, 

O'er the fainting hero threw 

Her mantle of ambrosial blue ; 

And bade her spirits bear him far, 

In Merlin's agate-axled car, 

To her green isles enamelled steep, 

Far in the navel of the deep. 

O'er his wounds she sprinkled dew. 

From flowers that in Arabia gi'ew; 

On a rich enchanted bed 

She pillowed his majestic head ; 

^ A similar allusion occurs in Balbuena's epic poem, '• El Bernardo," 
c. V. St. 17, 18. — LiEB. 


O'er his brow with whispers bland. 
Thrice she waved an opiate wand ; 
And to soft music's airy sound 
Her magic curtains closed around : 
There renewed the vital spring, 
Again he reigns a mighty king ; 
And many a fan- and fragrant clime, 
Blooming in immortal prime, 
By gales of Eden ever fanned, 
Owns the monarch's high command : 
Thence to Britain shall return, 
If right prophetic rolls I learn, 
Borne on victory's spi-eading plume, 
His ancient sceptre to resume ; 
Once more in old heroic pride. 
His barbed courser to bestride ; 
His knightly table to restore 
And brave the tournaments of yore." 

He ceased : when on the tuneful stage 
Advanced a bard of aspect sage, 
" When Arthur bowed his haughty crest, 
No princess veiled in azure vest. 
Snatched him by Merlin's potent spell. 
In groves of golden bliss to dwell ; 
Where crowned with wreaths of mistletoe. 
Slaughtered kings in glory go. 
But when he fell, with winged speed 
His champions on a milk-white steed, 
From the battle's hurricane, 
Bore him to Joseph's towered fane. 
In the fair vale of Avalon : 
There with chaunted orison 
And the long blaze of tapers clear, 
The stoled fathers met the bier ; 
Through the dim aisles, in order dread 
Of martial woe the chief they led. 
And deep entombed in holy ground 
Before the altar's solemn bound : 
Around no dusky banners wave, 
No mouldering trophies mark his grave, 
The faded tomb, with honour due, 
'Tis thine, O Henry ! to renew. 
There shall thine eye, with wild amaze. 
On his gigantic stature gaze. 
There shalt thou find the monarch laid 
All in warrior weeds arrayed. 
Wearing in death his helmet crown, 
And weapons huge of old renown — 
Martial prince, 'tis thine to save, 
From dark oblivion, Arthur's" 


I have uow given an account of the romances of the 
fahiilous history of Britain, as far as Arthur and his 
knights are concerned, which form by far the largest pro- 
portion of the number. 

There are two romances connected with the imaginary 
history of Britain, ^^I'cceding the time of Arthur, and two 
which relate the fabulous incidents posterior to his reign. 

Those which are first in the order of events, happen to 
be also the earliest, considered as to the dates of their com- 
position.^ One of these relates the adventures of 

Gtron le Courtois," 

a romance which chiefly hinges on the disinterested friend- 
shij) of Gyron for Danayn the Red, and the ungrateful 
return he receives.^ 

This work was widtten by Rusticien de Pise, who was 
also the author of Meliadus, and lived during the reigns of 
Henry III. and Edward I. of England. Rusticien informs 
us, that Gyron was translated by him from the book of 
Edward I., when he went to the conquest of the Holy 
Land [1271-72], " et saichez tout vrayement que cestuy 
livre fut translate du livre du Monseigneur Edouard le 
roi d'Angleterre, en celluy tems que il passa oultre la mer, 
au service de uostre seigneur, pour conquester le Saint 
Sepulchre. Et maistre Rusticien de Puise compila ce 
Romant : car de cellui livre au roi Edouart d'Angleterre 

^ " Notwithstanding Dunlop's statement the events of the romance 
must be intended as contemporaneous with Arthur. Near the commence- 
ment of the work, the comrades Gyron and Danayn meet xVrthur's 
Senesclial and Ywain, a well-known knight of the Kound Table." 
Schmidt, in the Wiener Jahrb. Bd. 29, p. 105, quoted b}'' Lieb. 

^ Gyron le Courtois. Avecques le deuise des armes de tous les 
chevaliers de la table ronde. 

^ The original story, together with the Meliadus, formed part of the 
great romance Talamedes (or as M. Taulin Paris prefers to call the 
whole, Gli'on le Courtois, this personage being the chief hero through- 
out), written by P^lie de Borron, who was alive in the twelfth century, 
probably about one hundred years before Kusticien, whose composition 
is the basis of the work as printed. See note, p. 188, and Mr. Ward's 
Cat. pp. .'366-67 ; and Paulin Paris, Manuscrits Francois. Paris, 1838, ii. 
pp. 346-360, and iii. pp. 56-61, 64. In MS. Brit. Museum. Add. 23930, 
the name is always spelt Guron. 


translata il toutes les merveilleuses advantures qui sent 
en cestuy livre." Who the original author was from whom 
Eusticien compiled, or what was the nature of this book of 
King Edward's, which Rusticien used, it is impossible to 
conjecture.' The romance of Gyron, as written by Rusti- 
cien de Pise, was first printed by Yerard, Paris, 1494,^ 
in folio ; and afterwards in 1519. 

In this fabulous work we are informed that Brehus, 
surnamed Sans Pitie, in the course of his unmerciful ad- 
ventures, one day entered a cavern fitted up with dead 
bodies [Ed. 1519, fol. 122-3], and inhabited by two old 
knights, who prove to be the father and grandfather of the 
hero of this romance. Having boasted of the exploits 
which were performed by their companions in arms in their 
own days, Brehus contends that they were surpassed by 
those of a knight, who excelled all others in courtesy and 
valour, and was the admiration of the British court, though 
it was unknown whence he came, or what was his lineage. 
Grant Pere Gyron, as he is called, conjectures from this 
description that Brehus alluded to his grandson, Gyron 
the Courteous.^ The oldest Gyron and his son had quitted 
the inheritance of the throne of Gaul, in order to devote 
themselves to knight errantry, which they had in turn 
abandoned for the tranquil and temperate life they were 
then enjoying. They thought it necessary, however, to 
make an apology for their meagre and squalid appearance, 
which they attributed to the want of provisions, " car nous 
mangeons si pourement en cestuy Heu, ou vous nous voyez, 
que a grant peine en pouons nous soubstenir nostre vie." 
[f. 126.] 

^ Paul in Paris has (says Mr. Ward) printed the words of Eusticien 
more fully (Manuscrits Frangois, Paris, 1838, vol. ii, p. 356-58) and 
from these, and the work to which they form the preamble, it appears 
that this ''■ translation'' was in fact a compilation of several Arthurian 
romances, especially the Quest of the Saint Graal, the Tristram, and 
the Palamedes (or Guiron le Courtois). Subsequent copyists, coutinues 
Paulin Paris (vol. iii. p. 64), picked out individual adventures of this or 
that hero, and hence were derived the printed Guiron and Meliadus. 
Ward, Cat. i. p. 367. But see note on Meliadus, sujjra, p. 188. 

"^ Brunet, however, gives 1501 as the probable date. 

3 The word courtois, says Wieland in his preface to Gyi'on der 
Adelige, implies nobility alike of mind, of manners, and of birth. — 



The erowii which the Gyrons abdicated had been usurped 
by Pharamond ; aud their descendant, Gryron the Courteous, 
had been eom2x41ed to embrace the life of a kni<^dit errant. 
In the course of his adventures he became the companion 
in arms of Danayn the Red, lord of the castle of Maloanc, 
whose wife, the lady of Maloanc, was the most beautiful 
woman in Britain. This lady was enamoured of Gyron, 
and saw that she was by no means indifferent to the 
knight ; but all her inducements proved ineffectual to 
persuade him to betray his friend. 

At length Gyron and Danayn proceeded to a tournament, 
proclaimed at the British court, whither they were followed 
by the lady of Maloanc. During the celebration of the 
tournament, Danayn w^as unexpectedly called home, in 
order to avenge the death of one of his relatives, who had 
been treacherously murdered. At his departure he con- 
signed his wife to the charge of Gyron, who was now dis- 
tracted by the new temptation presented, and the additional 
claim on his honour. While roaming through a forest, 
pei-j^lexed with these conflicting emotions, he overheard 
Messire Lac, as he is called, express a passion for the lady 
of Maloanc ; Lac accosted him, and commenced a long and 
tedious story, which he had no sooner concluded, than he 
proposed to tell another. This is declined by Gyron, but 
is insisted on by Lac, — " en nom Dieu, fait le Chevalier, 
Je vous en compteray ung autre. Je n'en vueil point 
ouyr, fait Gyron. Nostre vassal, fait le Chevalier, or 
saichez qu'il est mestier que vous I'escoutez ; et que si 
vous ne le me laissez comjDter en telle maniere que Je soies 
couroussc, Je le vous compteray done en telle guyse qu'il 
ne sera jour de vostre vie qu'il ne vous en souviengne " 
[f. 32]. Messire Lac accordingly proceeds to tell his story 
at the point of the sword. The object of these tedious 
narratives was to detain Gyron till Lac's arrangements for 
carrying off the lady of Maloanc had been completed. 
Gyron, however, ultimately frustrates all his designs, over- 
throws Lac in single combat, and rescues the lady of 
Maloanc, who had fallen under his power. " Et quant la 
belle dame de Maloanc, qui ja avoit toute sa paour oublic, 
se voit toute seule avec le Chevalier du monde qu'elle 
aymoit le plus, et qui si preud homme des armes estoit qu'il 


avoit tout le monde passe, et qiii estoit plus beau et plus 
gracieulx que tous les autres en toutes choses, elle ne scait 
a celluy point quelle en doit dire ; tout le coeur luy va 
remnant. Orendroit luy veult elle parler d'amours, et 
maintenant s'en retient." At length, when they had reached 
the side of a delightful fountain, she ventures to ask Gyron 
if he be in love. The knight, unable longer to restrain his 
emotions, confesses that she was and had long been the 
sole object of his adoration. A mutual confession of a 
secret, but long subsisting attachment, spares the minutiae 
of courtship ; and G-yron appears to have been on the eve 
of violating that fidelity to his friend, which he had so 
long preserved, when he fortunately casts his eyes on the 
hilt of his sword, where was inscribed the motto, — Loyaulte 
passe tout — Faulsete honit tout.^ He is awakened to such 
a sense of his unworthiness, and of self-indignation, by 
this inscription, that he plunges the sword into his bosom. 
While lying wounded by the side of the fountain, Danayn, 
who had heard some false report of the infidelity of his 
wife and his friend, arrives at the spot, on his return to 
the British court. G-yron conceals the part which the lady 
bore in the adventure, and merely relates, that he had in- 
flicted the wound as a punishment of his mental infidelity. 
The friendship of Danayn, instead of being diminished, is 
thus redoubled, and the wounded knight is conveyed to 
the castle of Maloanc [f. 65]. 

When Gyron was restored to health, he formed a new 
attachment to a damsel, called Bloye, of whom he daily 
became more deeply enamoured. With this lady Danayn 
also fell in love, and secretly carried her off, regardless of 
the happiness of his friend, and unmindful of the striking 
example which he had experienced of his fidehty. The 
resentment of Gyron was proportioned to the injury he 
had received, and the ingratitude of him by whom it was 
inflicted : he immediately set out in quest of the traitor, 
and during a year's wandering experienced many perilous 

^ The passage reads in the edition, Paris, 1519, fol. 40 : — "Loyaulte 
passe tout et faulcete se honnit tout et decoit tous hommes dedans qui 
elle se heberge," and as though the writer forefelt an attempt to garble 
the inscription, he adds, " et ny avoit ne plus me moins en escript." — 



and romantic adventures, totally foreign to the object of 
his search [f. 93]. 

One day, says the romance, when the season was fair and 
clear, as it mii^lit be in the end of October, it happened that 
the road which Gyron held conducted him to tlie foot of a 
hill. The hill was white with snow, for it was winter, but 
the plain was orreen as if it had been the month of May. 
At the foot of this hill, in the plain, and beneath a tree, 
gurgled a fountain most beautiful and most delightful, and 
imder that tree sat a knight, armed with hauberk and 
greaves ; his other arms were near him, and his horse was 
tied to the tree. By the knight sat a lady so beautiful that 
she was a miracle to behold ; and if any one were to ask 
who was the knight, I would say it was Danajn the Red, 
the brave knight ; as the lady seated before him was no 
other than the beautiful Lady Bloye, who had been so much 
beloved by G-yron.^ 

A desperate combat ensued between the knights, in 
which Danayn was vanquished : Gyron spared his life, but 
refused to be reconciled to liim, and departed with Bloye, 
of whom he was more enamoured than ever [f. 162, etc]. 

Some years afterwards, Bloye engaged in an adventure 
with her lover Gyron which had a very unfortunate issue, 
as they were both imprisoned, and it was not till after a 
long period that they were freed by the valour of Danayn, 
who thus made some reparation for the injuries he had 
formerly inflicted on his friend. Gyron and his lady, how- 
ever, were a second time thrown into confinement by the 
treachery of the Knight of the Tower, and are left in thral- 
dom at the termination of the work, which concludes with 
the exploits of a son of Gyron by Bloye, referring the reader 
for an account of the deliverance of his parents to the ro- 
mance of Meliadus : — " Mais quant ils furent delivrez ne 
fais Je point de mention, pour ce que le livre de Latin se 
finist en ceste endroit quant a leurs faits ; mais le Romant 
du Roy Mehadus de Leonuoys dit la maniere comment ils 
furent deUvrez, et par qui" [fol. 219, etc.]. 

The great fault, however, of the romance of Gyron is, not 
that it terminates too soon, but that it is too long pro- 

^ See Appendix, No. 8. 


tracted. It ouglit to liave concluded with the overthrow 
of Danayn and the recovery of Bloye by G-yron ; for the 
adventures of their son, which form a considerable part of 
the romance, are miserably tagged to the main subject. 
Indeed it is a common blemish in romances of chivalry, 
that there is no repose in them, and that the reader is led 
on from generation to generation after the principal inte- 
rest is exhausted. The earher part, however, of the ro- 
mance is uncommonly interesting, and the style is perhaps 
the finest of all the old fabulous histories of Britain ; accord- 
ingly it was extremely popular in this country and France, 
and was translated at an early period into many different 
languages of Europe. It is the subject of an Italian poem 
of the sixteenth century, entitled Girone Cortese, versified 
in ottava rima, and containing twenty-four cantos. This 
poem was written by the celebrated Alamanni, author of 
the Coltivazione, but never obtained much popularity, 
owing to an injudicious imitation of the ancient epic poems 
in a romantic subject [see G-raesse, p. 241]. That part of 
the romance which relates to the adventures of Gyron with 
the lady of Maloanc, has been beautifully versified by 
Wieland, the German poet, well known as the author of 

The second romance concerning events preceding the 
reign of Arthur, to which I alluded, and which exhibits a 
different set of heroes from the tales of the Eound Table, 


which comprehends the fabulous history of Britain, pre- 
vious to the age of Arthur. It is the longest and best 

^ La tres elegante, delicieuse, melliflue, et tres plaisante hystoire du 
tres noble, victorieux, et excellentissime Roy Perceforest Roy de la 
Grant Bretaigne, fundateur du Franc Palais et du Temple du Souverain 
Dieu ; avec les merveilleuses enterprinses, faits, et adventures du tres 
belliqueulx Gaddiffer Roy d'Escosse, lesquelz I'Empereur Alexandre le 
Grant couronna Roys soubz son obeissance : en lacquelle hystoire lelee- 
teur pourra veoir la source et decoration de toute Chevalerie, culture de 
vraye noblesse, prouesses et conquestes infinies accomplies des le temps 
de Julius Cesar ; avecques plusieurs propheties, comptes d'amans et 
leurs diverses fortunes. Paris, 1528, 6 tom. 

See a notice of this Romance by F. W. V". Schmidt in the Wiener 
Jahbiicher der Literatur, 1825, pp. 108-124. 


known romance of the class to which it belongs, and is the 
work which St. Palaye, and similar writers, have chiefly 
selected for illustrations and proofs of the manners of the 
times, and institutions of chivalry. 

It is strange that Perceforest, which sets all chronology, 
geography, and }»robal)ility at defiance, more boldly than 
almost any other romance, should begin with a profound, 
and by no means absurd, investigation concerning the topo- 
graphy of Britain, and the earliest ages of its history. 
Julius Ciesar, Pliny, Bede, and Solinus, are cited with the 
utmost ostentation of learning. 

The author, however, soon enters on the regions of fic- 
tion. That part of his work which immediately succeeds 
the geographical disquisition, corresponds pretty closely 
with the fabulous history of Geoffrey of Monmouth ; he re- 
lates [B. i. c. 3] that Brutus, or Brut, the son of Sylvius, 
and great grandson of ^neas, having killed his father by 
mischance, fled to the states of a Greek king, called Pan- 
drasus, whose daughter Imogene he espoused. From this 
kingdom he fitted out an expedition, and landed in Albion, 
since called Britain [i. 9] from his name, and conquered 
the whole country with the assistance of Corinaeus, another 
Trojan chief whom he had picked up on his voyage. Most 
of the European nations were anciently fond of tracing 
their descent from Troy. The greater part of them had 
been at one time provincial to the Romans ; and the Britons, 
who remained so long under their dominion, may have im- 
bibed a general notion of the Trojan story from their con- 
querors. As Pome, from becoming the capital of the 
supreme pontiff, was a city highly reverenced and distin- 
guished, and as the Trojans were believed to be its founders, 
an emulation gradually arose among the nations of Europe, 
of claiming descent from the same respectable origin. Nor 
were the monks and other ecclesiastics (the only writers and 
readers of the age,) uninterested in broaching and main- 
taining such an opinion. But, as to the story of Brutus, 
w^ho is represented as the founder of the kingdom of Bri- 
tain, in Geoffrey and Perceforest, and is the hero of the 
most ancient, as well as the most celebrated of all the me- 
trical romances, it may be presumed that it was not invented 
till after the ninth centurv, as Nenuius, who lived towards 


the close of it, mentions him with great obscurity, and 
seems totally unacquainted with the British affairs which 
preceded Caesar's invasion. 

After the death of Brutus, the author of Perceforest drags 
us through the history of his numerous descendants. One 
of these monarchs is King Leyr [i. 11], whose story was 
first related of a Eoman emperor in the Gesta Eomanorum, 
and was afterwards told of the British monarch, in the 
Chronicle of G-eoffrey of Monmouth. These works were 
the origin of Shakspeare's celebrated tragedy, which, how- 
ever, differs so far from them that both in Greoffrey's 
Chronicles and Perceforest, the events have a happy conclu- 
sion, as Cordelia defeats her sisters, and reinstates her 
father on the throne. From Perceforest the tale had found 
its way into Fabyan's " Concordance of Histories," ^ written 
in the time of Henry YII. and thence passed into various 
Lamentable ballads of the death of Kiag Leyr and his 
three daughters, of which the catastrophe probably sug- 
gested to Shakspeare the tragic termination which he has 
given to his drama. The story of King Lear is also in the 
fifteenth chapter of the third book of Warner's " Albion's 
England," and in Spenser's " Faery Queen," (book 2, canto 
10,) where, in conformity with the romance and chro- 
nicle, the war against the sisters has a successful termina- 
tion : — 

So to his crown she him restored again, 

In which he dyde, made ripe for death by eld. 

Gorboduc, who succeeded to the crown of Britain, soon 
after the death of Lear, profited so little by the example of 
his predecessor, that he divided his realm during his life 
between his two sons, Ferrex and Pol'rex, whose bloody his- 
tory is the subject of the first regular English tragedy: it 
was written by Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville Lord 
Buckhurst, was acted in 1561, and afterwards printed in 
1565, under the name of Grorboduc. Sir Philip Sidney says ^ 

^ The Chronicle of Fabyan, whiche he nameth the concordance of 
histories newly perused, and continued from the beginnyng of Kyng 
Heniy the Seventh to thende of Queen Mary. J. Kyngston, London, 
1559, fol. and sevei-al subsequent editions. 

2 Defence of Foesie. 


that this drama climbs to the height of Seneca, and Pope has 
pronounced the much higher eulogy, that it possesses " an 
unalieeted persjncuity of style, and an easy flow in the 
numbers ; in a word, that chastity, correctness, and gravity 
of style, which are so essential to tragedy, and which all the 
tragic poets who followed, not excepting Shaksj^eare him- 
self, either little understood or perpetually neglected." 
Both in the drama and romance, the j^rinces, between whom 
the kingdom had been divided, soon fell to dissension, and 
the younger stabbed the elder :^ the mother, who more 
dearly loved the elder, having killed his brother in revenge, 
the people, indignant at the cruelty of the deed, rose in re- 
bellion, and murdered both father and mother. The nobles 
then assembled and destroyed most of the rebels, but 
afterwards became embroiled in a civil war, in which they 
and their issue were all slain. 

Brennus and Belinus were the first monarchs who reigned 
over the almost depopulated country. These joint sove- 
reigns, who, we are informed, with rare historical confu- 
sion, were contemporary with Artaxerxes, king of Greece, 
having subdued Gaul, iDesieged and burned Rome during 
the consulship of Fabius and Porsenna [i. 15]. 

At length, after a long succession of princes of the family 
of Brutus, his race fortunately became extinct on the de- 
mise of King Pyr [i. 1] ;^ dimng this interregnum the 
goddess Venus recommended to the inhabitants to watch 
for a certain time on the sea- shore, where they would find 
a king properly cjualified to govern them. 

About this period Alexander the Great was employed 
in the conquest of Asia. Parmenio, his lieutenant, slew 
Gaddiffer, governor of Galde, a city between India and 
Babylon, who had imprudently attacked the Greek army, 
on account of some depredations it had committed, Alex- 
ander, who was a generous prince, took the children of 
Gaddiffer under his protection, and in a great battle de- 
feated Claurus, who had seized on their territory. Claurus 
was killed in the engagement, and his son Porus taken 

^ In the Romance, however, the younger brother, Forrex, falls in 
battle. — LiEB. 

2 This Fyr is noticed in Wace's " Roman de Brut." Edit. Rouen, 
1836, line 3,800. 

I. B 


prisoner. Alexander, however, restored to the latter his 
father's kingdom, on condition that he should marry 
Feronas, a lady of whom he knew that Porus was ena- 
moured. Wives are also provided by this bounteous 
monarch for Betis,^ afterwards called Perceforest, and his 
brother Gaddiffer, the two sons of old G-addiffer, governor 
of Galde. 

The nuptials of Porus were celebrated in the city of 
Grlodof ard. About a league from this town, there was an 
island of the sea called Ciceron,^ where Venus was wor- 
shipped. To this isle Alexander set out on a pilgrimage 
with all his knights [i. 19], but scarcely had they sailed 
when a frightful tempest arose, which drove their fleet on 
the coast of England ; and a frightful tempest it must 
have been which carried a fleet from the East Indies to the 
shores of Britain. 

Alexander landed with his barons at the moment the 
inhabitants, in obedience to the oracle of Venus, were 
waiting by the sea- side to receive a king, and being accord- 
ingly entreated to give them a monarch, he crowned Betis 
king of England, and Gaddiffer of Scotland. The Mace- 
donian hero solemnized their coronation by the institution 
of tournaments, of which the intention was to renovate the 
ancient valour of Britons, who, even in that early age, were 
suspected of degenerating from their forefathers. These 
spectacles, which were attended by all the ladies and 
knights of the surrounding country, are described at full 
length [i. 29-34]. 

After the tournaments were concluded. King Betis con- 
ceived the project of constructing a palace from the wood 
of the forest of Glar, which enchanters defended by the 
most formidable incantations. Betis accordingly set out 
on this expedition, and proceeded a considerable way in 
the forest without experiencing any adventures. At length 
he came to a fountain, where stood an image with an ivory 
horn, which the statue sounded on his approach. On this 
warning, the magician Darnant, the inhabitant and guar- 

^ Betis was the name of the brave defender of Gaza against Alexander. 
2 Curtius, iv. 6. 

^ The modern name of the island of Cjthera, of old sacred to Venus, 
is Cerigo. 


dian of the grove, issued forth in knightly armour. A 
combat ensued, and Darnant being defeated, fled away 
[i. 34]. Betis, in the pursuit, met with enchanted rivers 
and other obstacles, raised by the power of magic. He at 
last overtook Darnant at the gate of a delightful castle, 
but, when about to slay him, the sorcerer changed himself 
to the resemblance of the beautiful Idorus, the wife of 
Betis. The king then embraced him with transport, but 
received a wound in return, on which he instantly cut off 
the head of the magician.^ The enchantments were now 
at an end, and Betis, on account of this exploit, acquired 
the name of Perceforest [i. 35, 36]. But the wood was 
ever after knovm by the name of the forest of Daniant. 
We are told in the romance of Lancelot du Lac, that 
Merlin was conj&ned by his mistress in the forest of Dar- 
nant, " qui marchoit a la mer de Cornouailles et a la mer de 
Sorelloys." " The idea of this forest may have arisen from 
that of Marseilles, in Lucan's "Pharsalia" [iii. 399, etc.], 
which was hewn down by Caesar, and may in turn have 
suggested the enchanted wood to Tasso [c. xiii. and xviii.]. 
Like Rinaldo, Betis surmounts the obstacles presented by 
necromancy to his design. As the resolution of the Itahan 
hero is for a moment shaken by a demon from the tree 
assuming the appearance of the beautiful Armida ; so the 
king of England is about to save the chief magician, who 
had clothed himself with the form of the fair Idorus. 

The labours of Perceforest were not completed by the 
death of Darnant, as he had many combats to sustain with 
the son and brothers of that enchanter. Alexander, sur- 
prised at his delay in returning from the forest, set out in 
quest of him : on his way he encountered the family of 
Daniant, and carried on a long intrigue with Sibille, the 
Lady of the Lake in those days, from which amour sj^rung 
the ancestor of the renowned Arthur. 

After the termination of a long war against the posterity 
of Darnant, of which the siege of Malebranche [i. 42-49] 
is the leading incident, tournaments were exhibited by the 
knights of a new order of chivalry, instituted by Alexander 

* See Appendix, No. 9. 

' Cf. Sorolois, p. 253, infra, a name perhaps suggested by CharoUais, 
or Charolais, a district of France. 


and Perceforest. These were attended by the hermit 
Pergambu, who had been a companion of Brut, and seems 
to have lived through the intervening centuries for no end 
but to be present at these tiresome spectacles. The tour- 
naments being concluded, Alexander, whom we have 
hitherto seen acting so conspicuous a part in this romance, 
set off for Babylon [i. 162]. The Macedonian monarch 
was introduced into many other tales of chivalry ; he was 
chiefly indebted for his romantic decoration to a fabulous 
account of his conquests, which was compiled from eastern 
fictions by Simeon Seth,^ but passed under the name of 
Callisthenes, and was translated into almost all the lan- 
guages of Europe during the middle ages. 

About the time that Alexander returned to Asia, G-ad- 
differ, the brother of Perceforest, went to take possession 
of his kingdom of Scotland [ii. 1], of which country there 
is more said in this work than in any other romance of 
chivalry. After Gaddiffer arrived in Scotland, he pro- 
ceeded on an excursion through his dominions, for the 
sake of dispensing justice and reforming the savage 
manners of his subjects ; and the king and his courtiers, 
says the romance, entered on the deserts of Scotland, and 
travelled two days without seeing town, castle, or human 
being. At length they came to a delightful meadow, 
through which a fine river flowed. The king regretted 
that this district was so thinly peopled, but at length per- 
ceived some tame cows, and children of ten or twelve years 
of age running amongst them. The knight Estonne seized 
one of these tender savages, who, like her companions, was 
clothed with a sheep skin, but proved to be a girl of twelve 
years of age. She was extremely handsome, but much 
more remarkable for beauty than good manners ; for, on 
looking down, the knight perceived that his fair prisoner 
was gratifying either her hunger or resentment, by demo- 
lishing the neck of his courser. She also spoke such bad 
Greek that it was impossible to comprehend her verbal 
communications, though accompanied by gestures un- 
usually energetic [ii. 2] .^ 

^ See infra at pp. specified in index. 

^ The end of chap, cxlii. and chap, cxliii. of vol. ii. are borrowed from 
the French version of the Disciplina Clericalis. — Chastoiement d'unpere a 


After Gaddiffer had done all in his power to amend the 
unpolished fashions of his infant kingdom, the incidents 
related have but a very remote connection with his history, 
or that of his brother Perceforest, the titular hero of the 
romance. Everything like unity of action is disregarded, 
and the rest of the work is occupied with the insulated 
adventures of individual knights. A great proportion of 
these is attributed to Estonne, lord of the Scotch deserts. 
This great landed proprietor was in the good graces of a 
spirit called Zephyr, who, assuming a variety of shapes, 
carried his favourite wherever he desired. Estonne, at 
length, while dozing by an enchanted fountain, was mur- 
dered by Bruyant Without Faith [iv. 8]. His death was 
revenged by his son Passelion [iv. 14], whose adventures 
are the most entertaining in the latter part of the romance ; 
when only two years old he became a paragon of chivalry, 
and not long after was carried, by a spirit, around Tartarus, 
in a manner which may have suggested some of the scenes 
in the Commedia of Dante. 

Near the middle of the romance, an account is given of 
the invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar. This chief had 
landed on a former occasion, but had been worsted in 
single combat by the British knight Lyonnel ; his second 
attempt was more successful, owing to the treachery of 
the wife of Bethides, son of Perceforest, a lady to whom 
the author assigns an intrigue with Luces, a Eoman se- 
nator [iv. 22]. All the knights of Britain were destroyed 
in a great battle. Their bodies are indeed still preserved 
in Aran, an Irish island, where the climate is such that 
nothing can decay ; but the exploits of a new race of 
heroes fill up the romance. Of these the chief is Gallifer, 
grandson of old Gaddiffer, king of Scotland, who expe- 
rienced innumerable adventures in his pursuit of the lady 

son fils — according toF. W. V. Schmidt in Wiener Jahrb., bd. 29, p. 116. 
It is remarkable than an episode in Perceforest was printed before the 
appearance of the whole romance as a separate work. This was " His- 
toire du Chevalier aux armes dorees, et de la pucelle Coeur d'acier," and 
is mentioned in Melanges tires d'une Grande Eibliotheqiie, vol. 5, p. 132, 
as having been printed between 1480-1490, without date. The Chevalier 
aux amies dorees is doubtless Nestor, Gadditfer's second son, whose ad- 
ventures extend, in the longer romance from chap, cxliii. of vol. ii. to 
the end of vol. iii. — Ibid. 


with two dragons [v. 1-6, 31]. He also put an end to 
tlie encliantments at the tomb of Darnant, which seems to 
have been the rendezvous of all the evil spirits in Great 
Britain [vi. 2]. At length, having delivered his country 
from the anarchy in which it was left by the Romans, he 
was acknowledged as sovereign of Britain, but did not 
long enjoy this exaltation, as he was expelled by Scapiol,^ 
a German knight, who usurped the throne [vi. 57].^ Olofer, 
one of the deposed monarch's sons, became a great favourite 
of the new king ; the other, named Gallafer, retired to a 
distant part of the island, at first studied astronomy, and 
afterwards founded a new sovereignty [vi. 62, etc.]. 

In this kingdom the royal astronomer was visited and 
converted by Alain,^ a Christian disciple, who persuaded 
him to change his heathenish name of Gallafer into 
Ai'faren. He soon after resigned his crown to Josue, 
Alain's brother, and proceeded to preach the gospel to his 
ancestors, Perceforest and Gaddiffer, who, the reader will 
be surprised to hear, were yet in existence, and residing in 
the island of Life (I'isle de vie, perhaps Wight) . Perceforest 
had been severely handled in the wars with the Romans ; he 
had received twelve mortal wounds on the head ; he had 
left his right hand on the field of battle ; the other hung 
by a fibre ; his belly was laid open in four places, and he 
was lame of his left foot. In this fractional state he had 
passed into the island of Life, where he was joined by his 
brother Gaddiffer, and afterwards by the deposed Gallifer. 
On landing on this island, 'King Arfaran beheld a temple, 
and, looking in, perceived a group of worshippers before 
the altar. They were clothed in sheep's-skins ; their hair, 
whiter than snow, descended to their heels ; their beards 
covered their breasts, and thence extended to their knees. 
These antiques consisted of Dardanon, who had come to 
Britain soon after Brut ; Gaddiffer, with his queen ; Galli- 
fer, and the relics of Perceforest. King Arfaran having 
given them an abridgment of the doctrines of the Old 

^ Perhaps a reminiscence of Ostorius Scapula, governor of Britain, 
with the title of propraetor, (a.d. 50-51.) 

2 Towards the close of the work (vi. 56), we find the author making 
use of the gospel of Nicodemus. — F. W. V. Schmidt in Wiener Jahrb., 
bd. 29, p. 116. 

3 See supra, the Graal Romance, p. 166. 


and New Testament, and baptised them [vi. 66], they ex- 
pressed a j^reat desire of death. For this special purpose 
they departed from the isle of Life, and arrived on a shore 
where five meniiments had spontaneously arisen for their 
accommodation. Dardanon, as the oldest, is honoured 
with sepulchral precedence, and the rest follow according to 
seniority. These monuments may have suggested to Tasso, 
the self -formed sepidchre which rose to receive the body 
of Sueno (Gerus. Lib. c. 8 ;) and that which in his Rinaldo 
miracidously enclosed the Knight of the Tomb (c. 7).^ 

In this romance the concluding incident of the tombs is 
indeed abundantly ludicrous, but it has been rendered 
impressive by description. Nothing can be better painted 
than the voyage from the isle of Life, and arrival at the 
imknown solitary shore ; the mysterious voice directing 
whither to proceed ; the midnight journey through the 
wood ; the five monuments rising under the light of the 
moon ; the gradual decay of the venerable band, and the 
voluntary resignation of their breath into the hands of 
their Creator. 

Indeed, ludicrous incident and beautiful description 
form the chief characteristics of the work. I know no 
romance of chivaliy which more abounds in the beauties 
and faidts of that species of composition ; all unity of 
action, probability, and chronological accuracy are laid 
aside ; but there is an endless variety of enchantments, 
and a wonderful luxuriance of description. 

There is a great difference among the romances concern- 
ing the early history of Great Britain, with regard to the 
introduction of marvellous embellishments. Thus it is 
impossible to conceive two works more completely different 
than Perceforest and Meliadus, of which we have formerly 
given an account. The latter is almost entirely filled with 
descriptions of battles and tournaments, and is adorned 
with no supernatural ornaments. Perceforest, on the 
other hand, abounds with evil spirits, fairies, enchanters, 
and all those specious wonders which constitute the soul 
of romance. Dreams, too, and visions, which we have seen 

^ Compare also the legend of the Mausoleum which rose miraculously 
to cover the body of St. Clement, who was said to have been cast into 
the sea in the reign of Trajan. 


were so much used by Heliodorus, Tatius, etc., and so 
little in the other romances of chivalry, are common in 

From the endless variety of enchantments it contains, 
this romance is, perhaps, the most entertaining, and has 
become the most popular of the class with which it has 
been ranged. In consequence of the information it com- 
prehends concerning the manners of the period in which 
it was written, especially the solemnities observed at tour- 
naments, and the costume of our ancestors, it is also the 
most instructive, and has been chosen as a text-book by 
M. de Sainte Palaye, and other inquirers into the history 
and habits of the middle ages. It is said that Perceforest 
was one of the books which Charles IX., during his educa- 
tion, chiefly busied himself in reading ; and that to this 
study he was enjoined (I cannot discover with what view) 
by his mother Catherine de Medicis. 

Mr. Warton informs us [without, however, adducing 
authority for the statement,] that Perceforest was origi- 
nally written in verse about the year 1220. It is difficult 
to say precisely at what time it was reduced to prose, but 
it was probably subsequent to the annexation of Dau- 
phiny to the crown of France, as the son of the King of 
Galles (Wales) is called the dauphin, which, I think, 
also proves that the author was a Frenchman. With 
regard to his name I cannot give even the inconsistent 
information which I have collected concerning the other 
writers of romance.^ There is nothing said on this sub- 
ject in the preface, which is merely an addi-ess to the 
French nobility, loaded with extravagant comj^liments, 
and containing a summary of the whole. The author just 
hints that he had borrowed the incidents, contained in 
Perceforest, from a preceding work. It is in the second 

^ The MS. Perceforest in the British Museum is, according to the pro- 
logue prefixed thereto, revised bj David Aubert, Librarian to Philip the 
Good, Duke of Burgundy, in 1419-1467. This MS. does not altogether 
agree with the work as printed. A veiy curious phase of the sleeping 
beauty myth is found in the romance of Perceforest. " Zellandine is de- 
livered of a child in her sleep ; the child is laid by her side, clutches at 
one of her fingers, and sucks it, and presently begins to cough ; the 
mother awakes, and the child coughs up the sleep-thorn," — Ward's Cat., 
vol. i., pp. 377-381. 


chapter that the fabulous story of its origin is related. 
We are there told that Philip, Count of Hainault, attended 
the daughter of the King of France to England, in order 
to be present at her nuptials with Edward, which were 
celebrated in 1286. During the count's residence in 
England, he went on an excursion to the northern part of 
the kingdom, and arnved one day at a monastery situated 
on the banks of the Humber. The abbot received him 
with much politeness, and conducted him through the 
apartments of the convent. Among other places they 
entered an old tower, which was then repairing, where 
the abbot pointed out a vault in the deep walls, which had 
lately been discovered by the workmen. He informed his 
guest that in this vault there had been foimd an old chro- 
nicle which no one could read, till a Greek Clerc having 
come to study philosophy in this country, translated it 
from the Greek into the Latin language. The count in- 
sisted on having a loan of the Latin version ; and, on his 
return to his own territories, he took it with him to Hain- 
ault, where it was coj)ied. We are farther told in the 
course of the work, that the first part of this MS. was 
originally written by Cressus, mattre d'hotel to Alexander 
the Great. To Cressus the knights every year related 
their exploits on oath. He was thus enabled to make a 
compilation, which was preserved by Paustoimet, a min- 
strel, and read by his son Pousson at the coronation of 
King Gallifer. With this recital the court were so much 
delighted, that Pousson was commanded by the king to 
continue the adventures of the knights of his own period, 
and his labours accordingly formed the last part of the 
romance of Perceforest [vi. 31]. 

The whole work occupies three volumes folio, which were 
first printed in 1528, Gaily ot du Pre, at Paris, and after- 
wards at the same place in 1531, 2. 

It has already been mentioned that there are two 
romances which recount events subsequent to those con- 
cerning Arthur or his knights — Artus de la Bretagne, and 
Cleriadus, both of which may be regarded as continuations 
of the fabulous history of the Pound Table. The authors 
of these works do not fix the period in which these two 
descendants of the great Arthur flourished ; but the ro- 


mances themselves liave no doubt been composed at a date 
mucli posterior to Lancelot or Tristan. 

Aetus de la Bretagne/ 

wbicli, I think, is the earliest of the two, is supj^osed by 
the authors of the Bibliotheque des Romans, to have been 
written during the reign of Charles VI. of France (1380 
—1422), — First, because the decorations given to the 
knights and heroines are the same with those which were 
in fashion while Charles swayed the sceptre ; and, secondly, 
because the language is nearly of the same antiquity with 
that of Froissard, who lived in the time of that monarch. 
In the court of his queen, Isabella of Bavaria, it is said, 
splendour and gallantry reigned in spite of disorder and 
proscription. — Festivals and tournaments were revived by 
her to amuse the clouded mind of her husband, or occupy 
his attention when gleams of reason disclosed to him the 
miseries of his kingdom. — These exhibitions served to 
relume that romantic spirit of chivalry which had blazed 
with so much lustre in the better ages of France, and which 
was not unsuitable to the character of its unfortunate 

I suspect, however, that too early a date has been 
assigned to this as to most other romances of chivalry ; and 
there is good reason to suppose that it was not written till 
some years after the accession of Charles VIII., who 
ascended the throne in 1483. The subject of the romance 
is the adventures of a duke of Britany, and the disgrace of 
Perona, an Austrian princess, whose alliance having been 
solicited, was finally rejected by the heir to that dukedom, 
under circumstances by no means creditable to the lady, 
after she had arrived at his court. Now, it is well known, 
that in 1489, the French council determined to send hack 

^ Published in 1493, under the title of Le Petit Artus de Bretaigne, 
and republished at Lyons in 1496, and at Paris in 1502 and 1514. An 
English translation by John Boui-chier, Lord Berners, appeared early in 
the sixteenth century, and a second edition about 1520-30. This was 
republished in 1814, with a critical preface by E. V, Utterson, who 
places the composition of the French original in the beginning of the 
fourteenth century, before the accession of John III. to the Duchy of 
Britany. (See Ward, Cat., p. 382, and Lieb.) 


the princess Margaret of Austria, daughter of Maximilian, 
to whom the youug monarch had been long betrothed, and 
who had arrived at Paris, where she bore the title of 
Madame la Dauphine. At the same time the council re- 
solved to demand Anne of Britany in her place, and the 
nuptials by which that last great fief was united to the 
dominions of France, were celebrated in 1491. Now the 
romance of Arthur of Britany was first printed in 1493, 
and I have little doubt was written immediately before its 
publication, during these important transactions at the 
court of France, in order to compliment the new queen by 
celebrating the exploits of her ancestors, and recording the 
disgrace of her rival. The language of the romance, I 
confess, appears somewhat too ancient for the close of the 
fifteenth century; but it was natural for an author of 
romance and chivalry, rather to adopt the phraseology 
which was falling into disuse, than to affect a style which 
had recently come into vogue. 

The distinguished part which Anne of Britany performed 
on the political theatre of France, during the reigns of 
Charles Vlil. and Lewis XII., to whom she was succes- 
sively united ; and the great popularity of her character, 
may have contributed to the circulation of Artus de la Bre- 
tagne, of which there were three editions subsequent to that 
in 1493 ; one in 4to, 1502 ; a second in 1539, and the last 
in 1584. 

This romance comprehends the adventui'es of Arthur, 
son of John duke of Britany, who was descended from the 
celebrated Lancelot du Lac. A renowned knight, called 
Gouvemau from his employment, was appointed tutor to 
this young prince. One day, while engaged in the plea- 
sures of the chase, the preceptor and his pupil being sepa- 
rated from their party in a forest, arrive at a cottage, 
where an elderly lady, whose husband had been once a 
powerful baron, resided with her daughter Jeannette. 
Arthur is enchanted with the beauty of the damsel, be- 
stows on her the revenues of the spot, and often repeats 
his visit.^ 

The mother of Arthur, afraid, from his frequent absence, 

^ See Appendix, No. 10. 


that lie is about to be betrayed into an alliance unsuitable 
to bis birtb, proposes to the duke to demand Perona, 
daughter of the duchess of Austria, in marriage for their 
son. This young lady possessed but an indifferent reputa- 
tion, and the duke for some time declines the connection, 
but is at last forced to consent to the wishes of his wife. 
The seneschal is sent as a proxy, and Perona, who had 
cogent reasons to accelerate her nuptials, arrives soon after 
with great ceremony at Nantes [c. 9] . 

During the preparations for his marriage, Arthur con- 
tinues to frequent the cottage. He finds Jeannette less 
troubled than he expected by the news of his approaching 
nuptials ; she merely informs him, that she also was about 
to be united, that her intended husband resembled Arthur 
in form, and was matchless in nobility and power. 

These ambiguous expressions of Jeannette, and her ap- 
parent indifference, are accounted for in the following 
manner : — During the preparations for the marriage, 
Lucca, the mother of Perona, had been in some tribulation, 
as she was aware of the backsliding of her daughter. 
Ancel, one of her knights, for he too was in the secret, 
suggests to the Austrian family a stratagem similar to 
that which for some time preserved the fame of Yseult of 
Cornwall. He explains that there is a damsel in the neigh- 
bourhood called Jeannette, whose mother might be bribed 
to lend her daughter as a substitute for Perona till Arthur 
should fall asleep, after which the princess could occupy 
the place that was allotted her without hazard of 

In pursuit of this speculation Ancel proceeds to the 
cottage. He finds the mother little disposed to engage in 
this sort of traffic ; but Jeannette overpowers all scruples 
by a torrent of argument, which may have been satisfac- 
tory to herself on the score of her future intentions, but 
certainly possessed very little plausibility for the conviction 
of others [c. 11]. 

The nuptials of Arthur and Perona are solemnized, and 
Jeannette performs the part she had chosen. It seems to 
have been the custom in Britany that on the night after a 
marriage the husband should present his wife with a ring 
and act of dowry. Jeannette does not neglect to demand 


the performance of this ceremony, hoping that she will 
thus be entitled to assert claims to Arthur as her hus- 
band. Fortified with these credentials, she readily resigns 
her place to Perona when the opportunity is presented 
[c. 12]. 

Arthur next morning pays a visit to Jeannette, who 
produces the ring ; and at the same time gives him some 
insight into the character of Perona. This lady is also a 
good deal nonplussed on being asked by the duke to show 
him the act of dowry. Gouvemau, who had been at the 
cottage with Arthur on his last visit, reveals the whole 
story on his return. Jeannette is confronted with the 
Austrian family, and Perona is utterly disgraced. Lucca 
leaves the court with her daughter, and when they came to 
the fields the mother began to lament, and Perona was so 
much grieved that she died ; at which, says the romance, 
Arthur and his court had great joy, and Jeannette above 
all the rest. 

Now Arthiu- remained with Jeannette four years in his 
father's court. At the end of this period he has a dream, 
in which Florence, his predestined consort, appears to him, 
and his other adventures are very clearly portrayed by a 
vision of eagles and griffins. Arthur is induced by this 
dream to ask leave of his father to travel in quest of his 
future mistress. This being granted, he sets out with his 
cousin Hector, son of the Count of Blois, Gouvemau, and 
a squire [c. 15]. 

At this time a king called Emendus reigned in Sorolois,^ 
an empire little known in modem geography, but which 
the romance declares to be situated in the heart of Meso- 
potamia. This monarch had four vassal kings, who ruled 
over the uncouth lands of Normal, YaKondee, &c., and a 
queen called Fenice, who possessed the contiguous terri- 
tories of Constantinople and Denmark. On one occasion 
the royal pair held their court at Corinth, and gave a grand 
festival to their peers, at which the queen sat on the right 
hand of the king. It would appear that her majesty had 
intended to take the liberty of bringing forth in presence 
of her court, but the king of Yrcania having looked at her, 

^ Cf. Sorelloys, p. 243. 


declared she must instantly retire to the place where the 
king wished her to be confined. A discussion arose at 
table concerning the most suitable situation. At length it 
was determined that the castle of the Black Gate (Porte 
Noire,) lying on the Perilous Mount, guarded by every 
species of monster, and surrounded by a river, abounding 
in all sorts of vermin, would be the most commodious spot 
for the ensuing parturition. Another advantage of this 
situation was, that the castle belonged to a fairy called 
Proserpine, who, if duly propitiated, might bestow a num- 
ber of fine qualities on the infant. The daughter to whom 
the queen gives birth receives the name of Florence. She 
is educated with Stephen, son to the king of Valfondee, 
and proves, when she grows up, a miracle of beauty 

The great object of Arthur is the quest of this incom- 
parable princess ; but he is frequently diverted from his 
chief design by the enticements held out to him in the 
destruction of monsters and giants. His exploits, how- 
ever, principally consist in disenchanting castles, one of 
which is the Porte Noire, the birth-place of Florence, 
where an image, holding a hat which it was foredoomed to 
place on the head of the destined husband of Florence, had 
been in attendance from time immemorial.^ But the period 
of this inauguration was not yet arrived. Arthur had still 
to encounter 

fierce faces threatening wars, 

Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise. 

In these exploits he is neither assisted by Hector of Blois, 
whom at the beginning of his career he had married to the 
countess of Brueil, a lady whom he had freed from her 
enemies, nor does Grouvernau attend him in many of his 
expeditions, but experiences separate, though similar, ad- 
ventures. He is frequently enabled, however, to track 
Arthur by the carcases he finds on the roads ; and he 
walked, says the romance, till he saw ten robbers lying 
slain ; then Grouvemau said to Jaquet, My lord has been 
here [c. 57]. 

^ Cf. the statue du eommandeur in Don Juan. Note also the current 
phrase, " if the cap fits," etc. 


But Arthui' occasionally meets with a different species of 
allurement from that presented in an intercourse with 
giants and monsters. Proserpine, the protecting fairy of 
Florence, in order to try his fidelity to her protegee, risks 
her own honour by throwing herself in his way at the foot 
of an oak in a forest he was traversing. Nor is this vigi- 
lant fairy satisfied with one experiment. She contrives a 
plot by which Arthur comes to her palace, where her own 
blandishments being again resisted, she employs one of her 
damsels, who is treated with an indifference as satisfactory 
to Proserpine as provoking to the damsel, who did not feel 
the same interest as the fairy in this triumph of constancy 
[c. 54]. 

Florence, in the mean time, was exposed to similar diffi- 
culties. The emperor of India had demanded her in mar- 
riage, and had lately arrived at her father's court to 
prosecute his suit in person. This alliance was as accept- 
able to King Emendus as it was disagreeable to the party 
chiefly interested. Matters, however, having come to a 
crisis, Florence is obhged to request that the celebration 
of her nuptials be deferred till a splendid tournament is 
proclaimed, the fame of which she trusts will lead Arthur 
to court ; for of his approach and attachment she had been 
apprized by her confidant Stephen, who had met with him 
at Porte Noire and other places [c. 22]. 

Arthur, according to expectation, appears at the tourna- 
ment, and Florence obtains an interview with him, by the 
intervention of Stej^hen, or the Master, as he is generally 
called [c. 61]. 

On the first day of the toui-naments Arthur greatly dis- 
tinguishes himself, and Florence, in order that her lover 
might not be exhausted with two days continued exertion, 
feigns sickness on the following morning, and requests 
that the tournament be delayed. " Aura elle ce meschef," 
says Emendus, on hearing of the illness of his daughter, 
** Je serois courrouce si elle se moiu'oit sans hoir de son 
corps." [c. 63.] This paternal monarch is conducted to 
the chamber of Florence by Stephen, who there commences 
a harangue, which may give some idea of the mode of 
managing sick princesses in those times. " My lady, God 
to-day has done you great honour. Never were there so 


many people assembled by the sickness of a princess as there 
are to visit you ; for here is an emperor, ten kings, thirty 
dukes, and the whole chivalry of the sovereign of India." 

But in this chamber there was something still more im- 
portant than all this blaze of quality. In a corner of the 
room stood the image with the hat, which Stephen, who 
dabbled in magic, had lately smuggled from Porte Noire 
by a stroke of necromancy. The company assembled are 
informed that the person on whom this statue confers the 
hat will be acknowledged as the husband of Florence. 
The emperor of India first presents himself, but the image 
continues motionless. To the vassal kings of Emendus it 
is equally unpropitious ; till at length Arthur ap]3roaching 
receives the token that was reserved for him [c. 64] . 

In spite of this unequivocal demonstration on the part 
of the image, Emendus still persists in his intention of 
bestowing his daughter on the emperor of India. This 
resolution compels Florence to fly to the Porte Noire, ac- 
companied by the kings and knights who were friendly to 
her cause ; while the fairy Proserpine, who exactly resem- 
bled her in figure, occupies her place at court. The im- 
posture, however, being at length detected, Florence is 
l3esieged in Porte Noire by her father and the emperor of 
India with immense armies. During the siege, Proserpine 
is observed by the latter flying from the castle. As she 
had assumed the shape of Florence, he overtakes her, and 
extorts a promise of marriage. Then, having assured her 
of his protection, he conducts her to Emendus, who, on 
her entrance, salutes her with his foot. This commentary 
on her returning obedience not being rehshed by the em- 
peror, a squabble arises between the monarchs, during 
which Proserpine disappears, and the emperor soon after 
retires to his own country [c. 71]. 

The night succeeding his departure, Stephen throws the 
whole army of Emendus into a profound sleep, and then, 
with the assistance of five knights, conveys the king, while 
in bed, to Porte Noire. ^ By this trick of legerdemain he 

^ In Les Quatre Filz Aymon (c. 23) is, by a similar device, transported , 

by Malagis, or Maugis, into Montalban, which was besieged by him. f 

Indeed the figure of Master Stephen seems in general to have been * 
borrowed from that of the magician Malagis. — Lieb. 


is obliged, when lie awakes, to give liis consent to his 
daughter's marriage with Arthur. Previous to their union 
that prince 2:>ays a visit to Britany, where he has rather an 
awkward interview with Jeannette. On his return to 
Porte Noire, he is accompanied by a number of the peers 
of France, the duke and duchess, and also Jeannette, 
whose presence was certainly superfluous. Stephen on the 
journey informs Arthur, that he had discovered by his 
books that Florence had left Porte Noire, and was now 
besieged in the White Tower by the emperor of India, who 
had returned to the war. Arthur is advised to proceed 
thither with his host, but he determines on a plan of 
action more suited to his impatience, and to his confidence 
in his own prowess [c. 11\ He presses forward in dis- 
guise, followed by three knights, to the White Tower, 
where he signalizes his arrival by cutting up a whole army, 
with wounds that exhibit great anatomical variety. His 
other fi'iends having come up soon after, the gates of the 
White Tower are purposely left open, and the emperor, 
thinking it defenceless, enters with the remains of his 
army, still amounting to fifty thousand men. These are 
speedily despatched ; the emperor himself is taken prisoner, 
and soon after dies of grief. 

No farther obstacle remaining to the marriage of Arthur, 
a splendid tournament celebrates the triple nuj^tials of 
Arthur with Florence, Gouvernau with Jeannette, and 
Stephen the Master with Margaret, a princess whom 
Arthur had reinstated in her kingdom early in the romance 
[c. 50]. 

Florence in due season produces a son, whom the accu- 
rate romancer informs us she conceived the night of the 
espousals. The birth of this child King Emendus solem- 
nizes by dying of joy. Arthur is, of course, crowned king 
of Sorolois ; he" reigned, says the romance, thirty-two years, 
and left the care of his child, and all that he possessed, to 
Hector, Gouvernau, and the Master — "et d'autre chose 
plus rien n'en diet I'histoire, ains elle se tait." 

The chief excellence of the romance of Artus de la Bre- 
tagne is, that it possesses more unity of design than the 
works of the same nature by which it was preceded. The 
story of Jeannette at the beginning is indeed episodical, 

I. s 


but it is discussed in fourteen chapters, and through the 
remainder of the work the adventures relate to one com- 
mon original, the object that appeared in the dream ; and 
to one common end, the union of Arthur and Florence. 
Accordingly, the chief employment of Arthur is the search 
of Florence, and her deliverance from the power of the 
emperor ; and though these objects be occasionally lost sight 
of by the irresistible temptations thrown out by giants or 
monsters, they are never entirely abandoned. But in 
Tristan, Meliadus, Perceforest, and the older romances, 
there is no permanent motive that inspires the action. In 
them the momentary gratification of passion, an occa- 
sional display of valour, and a concluding paroxysm of de- 
votion, comjmse the incidents of the romance. 

Neither is there any romance of the Eound Table in 
which so great a war is carried on for the sake of a single 
woman, as in that just analyzed. We do not behold two 
knights occasionally tilting for the heart or favours of a 
lady, but the whole forces of India ranged against the 
chivalry of France. A single knight, in a paroxysm of 
valour, overthrows the army of an empire ; and though the 
combats are usually described more circumstantially than 
intelligibly, the slaughter is always conducted on a mag- 
nificent scale, and tends to one purpose. 

But though the unity of design in this romance be 
commendable, the design itself is by no means deserving 
of applause. Nothing can be more absurd than that 
Arthur should be enchanted with a woman he had never 
beheld, desert a beloved mistress, and set out in quest of 
the unknown fair, in consequence of an obscure vision.^ 

^ Examples of such dream-begotten passion are by no means rare in 
romantic compositions. Atheuaens observes : " We have no cause for 
wonder when we hear of people having fallen in love from hearsay, for 
Chares of Mytilene relates in the twelfth book of his History of Alex- 
ander, that many persons have become enamoured who have never seen 
the object of their attachment but in dreams," and then proceeds to 
quote an apposite story from Chares himself (cf. Lucian in Hermotimus, 
§ 73, in refei'ence to ^ledea, and Hyginus, Fab. 20). An instance is 
found in Amadis of Greece, in Palmerin d'Oliva in the Romans des 
Sept Sages (Kellers ed., v. 4218, etc.), in the Fabliau of the Chevalier 
a la Trappe, in the Xibelungenlied, st. 13, etc.). So common, indeed, 
was this mode of love in the romances of chivalry, that Chaucer seems 
(Rime of Sir Thopas, v. 13717, etc.) to deride it. Nor are the jwets of 


There is something, too, extremely cold and hard-hearted 
in thus abandoning Jeannette, which gives us, at the first, 
a very imfavourable idea of the character of the hero. 
Nor, as we advance, do we find him possessed of a single 
quality, except strength and coui'age, to excite respect or 
interest. This remark might, perhaps, be justly extended 
to all the other characters in the romance, excejjt Stephen, 
or the Master, as he is called. That young and royal 
astrologer is paintedand endowed with every personal grace 
and accomplishment — he has endless resources in every 
emergency — he possesses a delightful frankness and gaiety, 
united to an invincible heroism ; the utmost warmth of 
friendship for Arthur, and an unshaken fidelity to Florence. 
He also constantly amuses the reader by raising uj) de- 
lightful gardens,^ fountains, and singing birds, by the 
operations of natiu'al magic, — a knowledge of which was 
at one time believed to be a common attainment, and was 
known in Scotland by the name of glamour. The Jon- 
gleurs were professors of this mystery ; and Sir John Man- 
deville saw many proficients in the East. In particular 
[c. 22] , he gives a description of the marvels displayed before 
the khan of Tartary, so strikingly similar to those in the 
romance of Arthur, as to afford a strong presumption that 
such exhibitions were actually attempted in the middle 
ages, and were not merely the offspring of the romancer's 
fancy. " And than comen jogulours and enchantoui'es that 
don many marvaylles : for they maken to come in the ayr 
the Sonne and the mone, be seeminge to every man's sight. 
And after they maken the nyght so derk, that no man 
may see no thing. And aftre they maken the day to come 
agen fair and plesant, with bright sonne, to every mannes 
sight. And than they bringen in daunces of the fairest 
damyselles of the world, and richest arrayed. And after 
they maken to comen in other damyselles, bringinge coupes 

the East strangers to this device ; Suleicha, Potiphar's wife, becomes 
enamoured of Joussouf in di'eam (cf. Fortlage Vorlesungen liber die 
Geschichte der Poesie, p. 200), and simihirly Kamrup and Kala be- 
come mutually enamoured. (Les Avantures de Kamrup, par Jahein 
Uddiu, trad, de I'Hindoustani, par Garein de Tassy, ch. iii. and iv.). — 


^ See Scheiblo's '• Kloster,"Bd. v. p. 190, etc. Humboldt's '"Cosmos," 
ii. 130. Note to Boccaccio (x. 5), and index. 


of gold, and geven drynke to lordes and to ladjes. An 
than they make knyghtes to jousten in armes full lusty ly ; 
and they breken here speres so rudely, that the tronchouns 
flen in peces alle aboute the halle. And than they make 
to come in huntyng for the hert and for the boor, with 
houndes renning with open mouth e, and many other thinges 
they don be craft of hir enchauntments that it is marveyle 
for to see." And elsewhere the traveller remarks, *' Azid 
wher it be by craft or nygromancye, I wot nere." 

It can hardl}^ be doubted that the leading incident of 
the romance of Arthur of Britany suggested to Spenser 
the plan and outline of his Faery Queene ; where Arthur, 
the hero, sees in a vision, and, seeing, falls in love with the 
fairy queen, whose quest is the great object through the 
whole of that romantic poem. 

Clekiadtjs ^ 

is the last romance that has been ranked among those of 
the Eound Table. It does not strictly belong to that class 
of fictions, but has been numbered with them, as a great 
proportion of the adventures happen in England, and as 
the hero was married to a princess descended from the 
great Arthur. 

Philippon, king of England, one of the successors of 
Arthur, being far advanced in life, sent to Spain, in order 
to request that the count of Asturias, a man renowned for 
his wisdom, would come to England to assist him in the 
government of his kingdom. The count arrived according 
to invitation, and brought with him his son Cleriadus, who 
soon became enamoured of Meliadice, the daughter of 
Philippon. To render himself worthy of her affections, he 
engaged in many hazardous enterprises both in Britain and 
in his native country. Among other exploits, he subdued 
a lion which ravaged all England, but who turned out to 
be a gallant knight metamorphosed by the malevolence of 
a fairy ; and on one occasion he challenged and overcame 

^ Published by Antoine Verard at Paris in 1495 ; an edition unknown 
till 1850 (Brunet), and again in 1514, and twice subsequently. An ab- 
stract of the romance is given in the Bibliotheque des Romans for 
January, 1777, pp. 26-68.— Ward, Cat., p. 384. 


all the heroes of the court of Philippon. After this exhibi- 
tion, Philippon gave a splendid entertainment in honour of 
Cleriadus, who contributed a, pic-7iic of sparrowhawks and 
dressed dogs, which seem to have been the delicacies 
of the time ; he also danced for the amusement of the 
company, and sung a duet with Meliadice by order of the 

The final happiness of the lovers seemed fast approach- 
ing, when ambassadors arrived from the court of Cyprus 
to beg assistance against the Saracens, who had invaded 
that island. Though this entei'prise was somewhat out of 
the line of his English majesty's politics, yet, in order to 
testify his zeal for the Christian cause, he sent eight hun- 
dred men to Cyprus, with Cleriadus at their head, an ex- 
pedition which may, j^erhaps, have been suggested to the 
imagination of the romancer by the circumstance of a king 
of Cvprus having resided in England during the reign of 
Edward III. 

The Queen of England had a brother Thomas, Count of 
Langarde, a man of infamous character, who had conceived 
an incestuous passion for his niece. As his proposals were 
rejected with horror, he seized the absence of Cleriadus as 
a fit opportunity for revenge. He forged letters, which he 
made appear to have passed between Cleriadus and Meha- 
dice, in which the lovers agreed to poison the king, and 
ascend the throne in his stead. The good monarch, though 
he seems generally to have dispensed with the trouble of 
reflection, at first betrayed an inclination for a trial, but at 
the persuasion of Langarde, Meliadice, without farther 
ceremony, is sent under the charge of four ruffians to be 
murdered in a wood. Two of their number, however, are 
seized with compunction, and persuade their comrades to 
agree in saving her. She is accordingly allowed to escape 
on condition of leaving England, but is previously stripped, 
that she might not draw observation by the splendour of 
her dress. Thus she wanders through the country, in a 
dishabille which was fully as likely to attract attention as 
her royal vestments. At many gates she was refused ad- 
mittance, as a person of suspicious character ; but at length 
found refuge in the cottage of an old woman, who gave her 
clothes, and sent her, with letters of introduction, to a 


merchant, who lived on the sea-coast, and was speedily to 
embark for Spain. After a prosperous voyage she was 
landed at Yillablanca, the capital of Asturias, where she 
entered into service with a female cousin of the merchant. 

Meanwhile Cleriadus having conquered the Saracens, 
returned to England, where he was informed of the death 
of Meliadice. He also found that his father, having lost 
all influence, had retired to Asturias, and that the defamer 
of his mistress was acting as viceroy. He assaulted Lan- 
garde next morning, and defied him to single combat ; but 
that traitor preferring the certainty of immediate execu- 
tion to the risk of a battle, confessed his crime. Philippon, 
as may be imagined, was inconsolable for the loss of his 
daughter, but, spite of his entreaties, Cleriadus would not 
consent to remain in England. He assumed a pilgrim's 
habit, and embarked on board a vessel which was bound 
for the Tagus. The ship, however, fortunately encoun- 
tered a storm on the coast of Grascony, which forced it to 
enter the port of Villablanca. Although Cleriadus had 
formally renounced his country, he could not refrain from 
ascending a hill in the neighbourhood to take a last geo- 
graphical survey of the abode of his parents. 

While ruminating on his misfortunes, a young woman, 
whom the reader divines to be Meliadice, arrived, bearing 
a water-pitcher on her head. Seeing him j^lunged in dis- 
tress, she attempted to console him, and concluded with 
offering charity. She persuaded him to disclose the cause 
of his grief ; and while he was yet speaking she recognized 
her lover, broke her water-pitcher, and threw herself into 
his arms.^ The hap^^y couj)le set off for the seat of the 
count of Asturias, who, in a few days, accompanied them to 
England. There they were legally united with the consent of 
Philippon, who soon after resigned his crown to Cleriadus. 

The above work is the foundation of a Scotch metrical 
romance, written in the reign of Queen Mary, and entitled 
Clariodus, of which there is a MS. copy in the Advocates' 
Library at Edinburgh.^ 

^ See supplementary note to Apolloniiis of Tyre at the end of this 

^ This was printed in 1830 for the Maitland Club. The preface con- 
tains a brief account of the romance. 

CH. III.] l'histoire de giglan. 263 

Tliere exists one other prose romance of the knights of 
the Round Table, Giglan. 

L'histoire de G-iglan. 

K the prologue prefixed to this work is to be believed, 
*' frere Claude Platin humble religieux de I'ordre Monseig- 
neiu' Sainct Anthoine found one day in a little librairie 
where he was a big parchment book in very old writing, in 
Spanish verse ... in which book he found a little history, 
which seemed to him very entertaining . . . and resolved 
to translate the said history into French prose," which was 
printed at L3^ons in 1530.^ I have never seen this romance ; 
but to judge from extracts, it is not scarcer than it de- 
serves to be. 

Besides the metrical romances from which the prose 
compilations above analyzed have been chiefly formed, 
there are a number of others which existed in MS. in the 
library of M. de Sainte Palaye. Of those which were 
written by the Trouveurs of the north of France an abridged 
version has been given in the admirable selection of Le 
Grand. A great proportion of the metrical romances con- 
cerning Arthui' and his knights was written in the twelfth 
century by Chrestien de Troyes," and many of them were 

^ L'histoire de Gigla, filz de messire Gaunain qui fut roy de Galles. 
Et de Geoffroy de Maience son compaignom tous deux chevaliers de la 
table Ronde. Lyon. Several other editions are mentioned by Benecke in 
the advertisement to his edition of Wirnt von Gravenberg's Wigalois, the 
Knight of the Wheel, Berlin, 1819. See appendix. An account of Giglan 
is given in the Bibliotheque des Romans, October, 1777, i. p. 59. (See 
also Melanges tires d'une Grande Bibliotheque.) Benecke (loc. cit.) 
gives an account of the work and allied stories. The romance, says 
F. W. V. Schmidt, deserves far better than Artus do Bretagne, or 
Cleriadus, to close the Arthurian series; it abounds in marvel, adventure, 
and variety. The German Wigalois (Gwi von Galais), the French 
Giglain, and the English •' Lybeaus Desconnus " published in vol. ii. of 
Ritson's " Metrical Romances," are in great part substantially the same, 
the original of which, however, does not seem to have been traced. (See 
F. W. V. Schmidt, Wiener Jahrb., Bd. xxix. pp. 125, 126, 127.) For 
mention of several other works which may be attached to the .Vrthurian 
romances, see ibid. 

2 See C. Potvin, Bibliographie de Chrestien, etc., 1863, and W. L. 
Holland, Chrestien de Troies, eine Litteraturgeschichtliche Untersu- 
chung, 1854. 

264j history of fiction. [ch. hi. 

afterwards continued by Huon de Merj. Some of these 
relate new adventures concerning knights of the Eoimd 
Table, and others introduce new heroes. 

1. One of the most beautiful of these metrical tales is 

Eeec and Enide/ 

by Chrestien de Troyes. Erec vanquishes a knight who 
had insulted an attendant of Queen Geneura at a national 
hunt. After the battle, Erec discovered on the domains 
of the person he had conquered, his beautiful niece, called 
Enide, who resided near her uncle's castle, but had been 
allowed by him to remain in the utmost poverty. Erec 
marries this lady, and soon forgets all the duties of 
chivalry in her embraces ; his vassals complain bitterly of 
his sloth, and Enide rouses him to exertion. Attended by 
her alone he sets out in quest of adventures, of which a 
variety are related. One day Erec swoons through fatigue, 
and Enide readily believes him dead. A baron, whose 
castle was in the neighbourhood, happens to jDass at the 
time, and Enide is married to him while her husband is in 
the fainting fit.^ A nuptial feast is prepared in the room 
where Erec lay, but a squabble arising between the baron 
and his bride, on account of the obstinacy of the latter in 
refusing to eat, Erec is roused by the noise ; and being, it 
would appear, much refreshed by his swoon, instantly beats 
out the brains of his rival, and disperses the attendants. 

^ This is the story of Geraint (or Gerontius) ab Erbin, King of 
Defriaint (Devon and Cornwall). He was called in the Triads one of 
the three Llynghesawg, or naval commanders, of the Isle Britain, Gwen- 
wynwyn ap Naf and Mai'ch ap Merchion (the husband of Isolt and 
uncle of Tristan) beins: the other two. He was slain at the battle of 
Llongborth (probably Langport in Somerset), and is celebrated in the 
elegy of Llywarch Hen. He was buried, according to local tradition, in 
a golden ship, at Gerrans, not far from Truro. The romance has been 
used, in the form in which it occurs in a Welsh ]\IS. in the Hengwrt 
collection (published in Lady C. Guest's " Mabinogion," vol. ii), as the 
groundwork of one of Lord Tennyson's " Idylls of the King." German 
and Icelandic versions of Chrestien de Troye's poem exist. (See '*' Ma- 
binogion,'"' vol. ii. p. 178, for full descriptions.) — H. Jenner. 

Cf. Graesse, p. 249. Villemarque, Contes Popul., etc. i. p. 156, ii. 329. 
San Marte, Arthursage, p. 321 ; Gottinger Gelehrt. Anzeiger, 1843, Ko. 
101, p. 1007.— LiEB. 

- Cf. Widow of Ephesus, p. 94, etc., supra. 


As the provisions Lad by this time cooled, he immediately 
departs with Euide, aud arrives iu safety at his owd castle, 
after experiencing a curious adventure in a subterraneous 
labyrinth, from which he rescued a lady who was there 
detained by enchantment. 
The romance of 

Le Chevalier de la Charrette, 

the first part of which was written by Chrestien de Troyes, 
and the conclusion by Geoffrey de Ligny, relates the early 
adventures of Lancelot, and the commencement of his 
amour with Queen Geneura. This was published at Rheims 
in 1849, with a notice of the life and works of the authors 
by P. Tarbc, and again by W. J. A. Jonckbloet, at the 
Hague in 1850, under the title, " Le Roman de la Cha- 
rette d'aprcs Gautier Map et Chrestien de Troies." It con- 
tains both the versified romance and the portion of the 
prose Lancelot, which corresponds thereto. (See supra, 
pp. 182, 184.) Among the familiar Arthurian personages 
who retain their characteristic physiognomies two new 
figures play prominent parts, the traitor Meleagans and 
his father Baudemagus. The Charrette has been much 
praised for its literary merit. The following passage may 
convey some idea of the style. The queen is withdrawing 
to her apartment, and Lancelot can only escort her with his 
eyes and his heart, but the eyes had all too short a distance 
to travel, for the queen's chamber was near, and they would 
fain have entered it, if it might be. The heart, which is a 
more puissant seignour and master, and endowed with 
greater power, entered in after her, but the eyes, full of 
tears, remained with the body outside. 

Et Lanceloz jusqua I'antree 

I)es jalz et de I'cuer la convoie, 

Mes as ialz fu corte la voie 

Que trop estoit la chambre pres ; 

Et il fusst antre apres 

Mult volontiers s'il poist cstre. 

Li euers, que plus est sire et mestre, 

Et de plus f^rant pooir assez, 

San est outre apres li passez, 

P>t li oil sont remes dehors 

Plein de lermes avec li cors. 



Chevalier au Lion^ 

has been generally attributed to Chrestien de Troyes, but 
the Abbe de la Rue ascribes it to Wace. This romance 
must not be confounded with another of the same name, 
of which Perceval is the hero. In the present work Yvain 
is the principal character, and it has given rise to an old 
English poem, Ywain and G-awain, published by Mr. 
Eitson [i. 1-169].^ A knight at the court of Arthur re- 
lates that he had been induced to try the adventure of a 
fountain, where a dreadful storm was raised by throwing 
the water on a marble stone, and that the commotion 
brought to the spot a valiant knight, by whom he had 
been defeated. Yvain resolves to try this stormy experi- 
ment, and the expected combatant appears. Our hero 
kills this champion, and marries his widow, who resided 
in a castle in the neighbourhood, and finds that a knight 
is necessary to defend her territories, and reply to the 
whirlwinds from the fountain. After remaining some 
time with his wife, Yvain sets out in quest of new adven- 
tures, promising to return in a year. When he had ex- 
ceeded the appointed time, a damsel on the part of his 
wife comes unexj^ectedly to the court of Arthur, and re- 
proaches him with his infidelity. Yvain instantly goes 
mad, and roams through the country, committing extra- 
vagancies, which, it may be remarked, bear much closer 
resemblance to those of Orlando, than the transports of 
Lancelot or Tristan. It is after being cured of this phrensy 
that he rescues the lion, which he finds engaged in a peri- 

^ The Chevalier au Lion is printed in full as an appendix to the 
" Jarlles y Ftynnawn " (Lady of the Fountain), an abridgment in Welsh 
prose of the same story in Lady C. Guest's " Mabinogion," vol. i., where 
may be found copious notes on the subject. — H. Jexner. 

^ For the fullest analysis and comparison of the various versions of 
the story, see the essay by George Stephens, forming the third part 
(Inledning, m. m.) of the Swedish metrical version, Herr Ivan Lejon- 
Kiddaren, published by the Svenska Fornskrift, Sallskapet, 1845-49. 
(See also Eugen Kolbing, in his introduction to Ivents saga, in his 
Kiddarasogur (Strassburg, 1872). Ward, Cat., p. 392. See also Ville- 
marque, Contes Popul., i. 109, 305 ; ii. 328. The evidence in favour of 
the Celtic origin of the story is strong. 


lous combat with a dragon. The grateful animal attends 
him ever after, and is of great service in all his adven- 
tures. Yvain at last thinks of being reconciled to his wife, 
and begins his overtures towards accommodation, by raising 
storms from the fountain. The lady, who had resolved 
against agreement, is shaken by this species of eloquence : 
as she finds she must either be reconciled to her husband, 
or pass her life in an eternal hurricane. This notion of a 
knight having obliged, and being afterwards accompanied 
by a lion, w^iich is the leading incident in the above tale, 
seems to be a fiction common to all nations : every one 
knows the story of the Eoman knight, and in the Teu- 
tonic romance of the Book of Heroes, written in the begin- 
ning of the thirteenth century, Wolfdietrich having aided 
a Hon in a combat with a dragon, is ever after followed by 
the grateful quadruped.^ 

There are a great number of fabUaux relating to the 
knights of Arthur, of which Gauvain is generally the hero, 
but which also contain a vast deal about Queux, Keux, 
or Kav, the seneschal of Arthur. 

In * 

Le Chevalier a l'Epee, 

erroneously ascribed by some to Chrestien de Troyes, 
Gauvain is received in a splendid castle, where it was a 
rule that every person should be put to death who found 
fault with any thing he saw in the habitation. Owing to 
a hint he received from a peasant on entering this cere- 
monious residence, he abstains from all criticism : but he 
was not aw^are of a second regulation, that an enchanted 
sword cut off the head of those who took liberties with the 
daughter of the Chatelain. On the second night of his 
stay, the father locks him up in the same chamber with 
his daughter ; but the lady having taken a liking to him, 
warns him of his danger, and he escapes with a slight 

' Or rather slave. Cf. the story of Androelus in Gellius Noct. Att., 
V. 14. Cf. Robert, Fables Ined., ii. 473 ; Gesta Rom., No. 104, and La 
Chroniquo du bon Chevalier Gilles de Chin., ch. 32, and the story of 
Godfrey de lu Tour, and allied legends in Clone's " Anzeiger," viii. 351, 
No. 64. Cf. also F. W. V. Schmidt in his notes to Straparoia, p. 342 ; 
and see Migne, Diet, des Superstitions, Lion. 


wound in the arm. This damsel was afterwards married 
to Gauvain, and of her is related the example of female 
infidelity, contrasted with canine attachment, which has 
been given in the abstract of Tristan. 

La Mule sans Frein 

has by some been attributed to Payans Maizieres, and 
by others to Chrestien de Troyes. A disconsolate lady, 
mounted on a mule without a bridle, comes to the court 
of Arthur, and requests that one of his knights would go 
in search of this bridle, declaring that the mule knew the 
road to the place where it lay. Queux, the seneschal, 
offers his services, but speedily returns, appalled by the 
dangers he encounters. G-auvain then sets out, and after 
much procedure with giants and monsters, recovers the 
treasure from the lady's elder sister, who had robbed the 
younger of it. In the original romance there is not the 
smallest advantage to be derived from the possession of 
this bridle ; but, in an abstract in the Bibliotheque des 
Eomans [Fevrier, 1777, p. 98], it is feigned to procure for 
the holder the comforts of eternal youth and unfading 
beauty, which gives a semblance of probability to the con- 
test of these freakish sisters. A prose rifacimento is con- 
tained in Legrand d'Aussy's "Fabliaux ou Contes," i. p. 13. 
The tale has been versified by Mr. Way and by the 
G-erman poet Wieland [Des Maulthier's Zaum]. 
The well-known story of 

Le Court Mantel, 

printed in the sixteenth century, and analyzed by Le 
Grand, under the title of Le Manteau mal Taille, or 
fabliau of the Mantel mautaille. It is found combined 
with the Lai du corn of Robert Bikez, in an English 
ballad. (See Ward, Cat., i. p. 404). 
History of the 

Adventures of Four Brothers, 

Agravain, Gueret, Galheret, and Gauvain, sons of Loth, 
King of Orkney, all of whom set out in different direc- 


tions, in quest of Lancelot dii Lac. Agra vain, as a coup 
d'essai, kills Drnas, a formidable giant, but is in turn van- 
quished bv Sornehan, the brother of the deceased. His 
life is spared at the request of the conqueror's niece, and 
he is confined in a dungeon, where his preserver secretly 
brings him refreshments. Gueret also concludes a variety 
of adventures, by engaging Sornehan, and being overcome, 
is shut up in the same dungeon with his brother. Gal- 
heret, the third of the fraternity, arrives at a castle, where 
he is invited to play with its lady at chess, on condition 
that if he win he is to possess her person and castle, but 
should otherwise become her slave. The chess men are 
ranged in compartments on the floor of a fine hall, are 
large as life, and glitter with gold and diamonds. Each 
of them besides is a fairy, and moves on being touched by 
a talisman. G-alheret loses the game, and is confined with 
a number of other check-mated knights. G-auvain, how- 
ever, soon after arrives, and vanquishes the lady at her 
own arms ; but only asks the freedom of the prisoners, 
among whom he finds his brother. Having learned from 
an elfish attendant of the lady, the fate of his two other 
kinsmen, he equips himself in the array of the chess king. 
In this garb he engages Sornehan, who, being dazzled by 
the brightness of his attire, is easily conquered, by which 
means Agravain and Gueret are delivered from confinement. 

This story is told, with little variation, in the prose 
romance of Lancelot du Lac,^ to which it was probably 
transferred from the metrical tale above mentioned. 

An account has now been presented of the romances of 
the Roimd Table, the most ancient class of chivalrous 
composition." Of the usual tone of incident in these works, 

^ And in Perceval. See also San Marte, Arthursage, p. 214, Xo. 29, 
and Villemarque, Contes Popul., ii. p. 296. 

2 Graesse, Literarg, Bd. 2, § 3, p. 2 49, enumerates several other ro- 
mances of chivalry, among which, on account of its rarity, may here be 
Paris, mentioned Triumphe desneuf Preux (abstract in Bibl. des Romans, 
1782, 4to., i. p. 71). The author feigns that there appeared to him in a 
vision nine heroes, and in a second vision a tenth hero, viz., Josua, David, 
Judas Maccabeus, Hector, Alexander the Great, Julius C?esar ; and 
then Arthur, Charlemagne, Godfrey of Bouillon, and finally Bertrand 
du Guesclin ; they charge him to undertake the description of their Lives 
and Feats, in order that Lady Triumphe who appears with them may be 


I trust the reader may have forined some idea from the 
abstracts already given. In many of those points that 
have been laid down, as constituting excellence in the 
materials of fictitious narrative, they will be found ex- 
tremely defective. The novelty of adventure is not great, 
as most of the events related were drawn from those me- 
trical romances, by which the prose ones were preceded. 
But, if we at one view consider the originals and imita- 
tions, the incidents are of such a nature as were never 
before presented in combination to the world, and form 
in every particular a complete contrast to the G-reek ro- 
mances. As the fictions concerning the Eound Table, in 
common with all other tales of chivalry, are full of stories 
of giants and enchanters, they have no claim to proba- 
bility of incident in one sense of the term, and even that 
species of verisimilitude, which we expect in the actions 
and machinations of unearthly beings, is more often violated 
than preserved. 

A modern reader, too, is shocked by the glaring ana- 
enabled to decide which of them has deserved her crown. The writer 
performs this task with many divergences, however, from the records of 
sacred and profane history. Differently to the account in Lancelot (p. 
183), Arthur is here made to commit incest knowingly with his sister, 
the consort of Lot, King of Orcania, she, however, being innocent. Brunet 
^ives the titles and editions of the original as ostensibly a translation 
from the Spanish. The nine heroes of this romance are not infrequently 
mentioned in the earher English literature. Shakespeare alludes inLoA^s 
Labour's Lost (act v. sc. 2), to the Nine Worthies (Douce, Illustrations of 
Shakespeare, p. 149. Cf. also the Provencal Roman de Flamen^a, in 
Raynouard's " Lexique Roman," vol. i. p. 10, etc.) Further, they appear 
in the verses which precede the Low-German history of Alexander the 
Great (Brun's " Altplattdeutsche Gedichte," p. 336, etc. See also Warton, 
vol. iv. p. 151, note a, Lond. 1824). They figure also in tapestry and 
paintings (Warton, ii. p. 44, note 9). This selection of thrice three 
heroes may very likely have originated in the Welsh Triads, where (see 
San Marte, Arthursage, p. 46) the three Pagan, Jewish, and Christian 
Trinities are enumerated as follows : Hector, Alexander, and Julius 
Caesar ; Joshua, David, and Judas Maccabseus; Arthur, Charlemagne, 
and Godfrey de Bouillon. For Godfrey is sometimes substituted Guy 
of Warwick. (See Douce, loc. cit.,p. 170, etc., and Graesse, Literarg, Bd. 
2, § 3, p. 255). — LiEB. In the Histoire Litteraire de la France, t. xix., 
are given abstracts, p. 678, of the Philippide d'Aymes de Varannes, of 
which there are both verse and prose romances in the Paris Bibliotheque 
Nationale, p. 681, of the Romance of Julius Caesar, by J. Forrest; p. 735, 
of the Romance of Trubert, by Doins de Laverne. 


chronisms and geographical blunders which deform the 
romances of chivalry. These and other absurdities have 
been happily ridiculed by Butler in his Hudibras : 

Some writers make all ladies purloined, 
And knights pursuing in a whirlwind ; 
C)thers make till tlieir knights in fits 
Of jealousy to lose their wits; 
Some force whole regions in despite 
Of geography, to change their site, 
Make former times shake hands with latter, 
And that which was before come after. 

The story is invariably told in the person of the author, 
and in this the writers of romance have perhaps acted 
judiciously. As the exploits of so many knights were to 
be related, it would not have suited to put the account of 
them in the mouth of the principal character, as he could 
not be minutely acquainted with adventures, in which, for 
the most part, he had no concurrence. The story is never 
carried on, as in the G-reek romances, in the form of an 
epic poem, commencing in the middle of the action, but 
truly begins with the egg of Leda — the adventures of the 
father or grandsire of the hero. After being protracted 
through a period of twenty or thirty years, the romance 
concludes with the death of the principal character, or his 
retirement into a hermitage ; or drags us through a long 
list of descendants. The interest, also, is too much divided, 
and the part of the titular hero is not always the most 
considerable. He appears and vanishes like a spirit, and 
we lose sight of him too soon to regard him as the most 
important character in the work. In the Greek romances, 
all the adventures accelerate or impede the solution of the 
fable ; but in the tales of chivalry there is a total want of 
unity of design, which prevents our carrying on the story 
in our mind, and distracts the attention. Indeed, I believe 
that in the metrical romances, and those few that were 
originally written in prose, the author had no idea where 
he was to stop ; he had formed no skeleton of the story, 
nor proposed to himself a conclusion to which his insulated 
adventures should lead. 

With respect to those excellencies which have been 
termed the ornaments of fictitious narrative : the characters 


of the heroes are not well shaded nor distinguished. The 
knight, however, is always more interesting than the 
heroine, which must appear strange when we reflect that 
these romances were composed in an age when devotion to 
the ladies formed the essence of chivalry, and that it is 
quite the reverse in the G-reek romances, though, at the 
time in which they were written, women acted a very in- 
ferior part in society. In the romance of Perceval, he 
appears a great deal, and Blanchefleur very little. Some 
romances, as Meliadus, have no heroine at all, and the 
mistresses of Lancelot and Tristan are women of abandoned 

In all these works the sentiments are thinly scattered, 
and perhaps a greater number would not have been appro- 
priate in that species of composition. During the chival- 
rous ages, as Madame de Stael has well remarked, " L'hon- 
neur et 1' amour agissoient sur le coeur de I'homme comme 
la fatalite chez les anciens, sans qu'on reflechit aux motifs 
des actions, ni que I'incertitude y fut admise." 

The charm of style and beauty of description form the 
most pleasing features of the romances of chivalry. There 
is something in the simplicity of the old French tongue 
which surpasses that of all other nations, and, from an 
assiduous perusal of romances, where it is exhibited in its 
greatest richness and beauty, we may receive much addi- 
tional insight into the etymology of our own language. 

M. de Sainte Palaye talks in high terms of the light 
which these works are calculated to throw on the labours 
of the genealogist, and of the information which they 
afford with regard to the progress of arts among our 
ancestors. That writer was an enthusiast for this species 
of lore ; and, like other enthusiasts, was disposed to exag- 
gerate its importance and value. It may indeed be granted, 
that the romances of chivalry are curious as a picture of 
manners, and interesting as efforts of the imagination, in a 
certain stage of the progress of the human mind ; but with 
this exception, and the pleasure occasionally afforded by 
the naivete of the language, the most insipid romance of 
the present day equals them as a fund of amusement, and 
is not much inferior to them as a source of instruction. 

Those, too, who have been accustomed to associate the 


highest purity of morals with the manners of chivalry, 
will be greatly deceived. Indeed, in their moral tendency, 
many of the romances are highly reprehensible.^ In some, 
as Perceforest, particular passages are exceptionable, and 
the general scope in others, where the principal character 
is a knight, engaged, with the approbation of all, in a love 
intrigue with the wife of his friend or his sovereign. In 
one of the best of these romances, Tristan carries on an 
amour through the whole work with the queen of his bene- 
factor and uncle. I need not mention the gallantries of 
Lancelot and Geneura, nor the cold hard-hearted infidehty 
of Artus de la Bretagne. " The whole pleasure of these 
bookes," says Ascham, with some truth and naivete, 
** standeth in two specyall poyntes, in open mans slaghter 
and bolde bawdrie, in which bookes those be counted the 
noblest knights that doe kill most men without any quar- 
rell, and commit fowlest adoulteries by sutlest shifts, as 
Syr Launcelott with the wife of Kyng Arthure his maister ; 
Syr Tristram with the wife of Kyng Marke his vncle ; Syr 
Lamerocke with the wife of Kyng Lote, that was his own 
aunte. This is good stuffe for wise men to laugh at, or 
honest men to take pleasure at." 

^ Much of the morality blamed by Ascham is doubtless derived from 
semi-historical material, which the romancer could not suppress any 
more than Lord Tennyson in his Idylls of the King, without ceasing to 
embody in his work a mass of received legend which it must be remem- 
bered was current and to a large extent believed. In many episodes 
there seems an attempt to mitigate prior records in accordance with a 
higher standard. " If it were to be conceded that Wac-e, Layamon, and 
the whole cycle of romances of the Round Table, might have been con- 
signed to oblivion without any serious injury to the cause of literature, 
we may be reminded that Don Quixote certainly, and Ariosto's Orlando 
most probably arose out of them. Perhaps Gorboduc, and Ferrex, and 
Porrex, might not be much missed from the dramatic literature of 
Europe ; but what should we think of the loss of Lear and Cymbeline ? 
Let us, then, thankfully remember Geoffrey of JMonmouth, to whom 
Shakespeare was indebted for the groundwork of those marvellous produc- 
tions, and without whose Historia Britonum we should probably never have 
had them." — Quarterly Review, March, 1848, Rev. R. Garnett. Other 
romances evolved from or connected with Celtic or British traditions, would 
naturally find a place here, but the limits of our work would be unduly 
extended by notice of them. It will be sufficient to refer the reader for 
the most recent information upon them to Mr. "Ward's " Catalogue of 
Romances," in the Department of Manuscripts, British Museum, 1883, etc., 
where he will find ample indications forthefurtherpursuit of the subject. 
I. T 





IT was formerly sIlowh that the romances relating to 
Arthur and the knights of the Eound Table were in a 
great measure derived from the History of Geoffrey of 
Monmouth. It now remains for us to investigate what 
influence the chronicle falsely attributed to Turpin, or 
Tilpin, archbishop of Eheims, the contemporary of Charle- 
magne, exercised over the fabulous stories concerning that 
prince and his paladins. 

The chronicle of Turpin is feigned to be addressed 
from Yiennes, in Dauphiny, to Leoprandus, dean of Aquis- 
granensis (Aix la Chapelle), but was not written, in fact, 
till the end of the eleventh or beginning of the twelfth 
century. Its real author seems not to be clearly ascer- 
tained, but is supposed by some to have been a Canon of 
Barcelona, who attributed his work to Turpin.^ 

^ Tilpinus, or Turpinus, said by Flodoardus (ob. 966) in his Historia 
Ecclesise Remensis, lib. ii. c. 16, to have been Archbishop of Rheims from 
about 75.3 to 800. The writers of Gallia Christiana say that he died in 
794. He was archbishop in 778, when Charlemagne made his only re- 
corded expedition into Spain, when the French rearguard was defeated 
in the Pyrenees, and, as Eginhart says, " Hruodlandus, Brittanici 
limitispraefectus," was slain. It is therefore quite possible that Tilpinus 
pronounced a funeral oration over Roland at Roneesvaux, an event 
which forms the climax of the present work, but no one now supposes 
that thei'e is any real connection between the chronicler and the arch- 

R. P. A. Dozy (Recherches sur I'histoire delalitterature del'Espagne 
pendant le moyenage, Paris, 1881, ii. pp. 372-431) has shown that the 


This production, it is well known, turns on the expedi- 
tion of Charlemagne to the peninsula. Some French 
writers have denied that Charlemagne ever was in Spain, 
but the authority of Eginhart is sufficient to establish the 
fact. It seems certain, that about the year 111 , the assis- 
tance of Charlemagne was invoked by one of those nume- 
rous sovereigns, among whom the Spanish provinces were 
at that time divided ; that, on pretence of defending this 
ally from the aggressions of his neighbours, he extended 
his conquests over a great part of Navarre and Arragon ; 
and, finally, that on his return to France he experienced a 
partial defeat from the treacherous attack of an unexpected 
enemy. These simple events have given rise to the 
famous battle of Koncesvalles, and the other extravagant 
fictions recorded in the chronicle of Turpin. 

Charlemagne, according to that work, having conquered 
Britain, Italy, Germany, and many other countries, pro- 
posed to give himself some repose, though the Saracens 
were not yet extirpated ; but, while in this frame of mind, 
being fortunately addicted to star-gazing, he one night 
perceived a cluster of stars,^ which, commencing their pro- 
cession at the Frisian sea, moved by way of Germany and 
France into Gallicia. This phenomenon being repeated, 
attracted the thoughts of Charles, but he could form no 
rational conjecture as to what was portended. The pro- 
digy, which eluded the waking researches of the monarch, 
was satisfactorily expounded in a vision. A figure aj)- 
peared to Charles while he was asleep, introduced itself as 
the apostle James, and announced that the planetary 

first five chapters of Turpin were the work of a French monk at Com- 
postella, and cannot have been written before 1065, and probably not 
before 1131. He agrees with Gaston Paris (De Pseudo-Turpino, Paris, 
1S65) that the remaining chapters are by another hand, or rather by 
other hands. G. Paris has reviewed Dozy's work in tlie Komania, July, 
1882, pp. 419, etc., accepting most of his conclusions, and finally con- 
jecturing that the whole work may have been completed towards 1150 
by Aimeri Picaud, the author of the Itinerary to Compostella. Turpin's 
Chronicle has been republished by the Montpellier Societe pour TEtude 
des Langues Romanes, by F. Castets, under the title of Turpini Historia 
Karoli Magni et Kotholandi, 1880. See Ward, Cat., vol. i. pp. 950, 951 
and 546-560. 

^ " Intentione sagaci," says Eginhart, "siderum cursum curiosissime 
rimabatur." (C. 25.) 


marcli typified tlie conquest of Spain, adding, that lie liad 
himself been slain by King Herod, and that his body had 
long lain concealed in Gallicia. Hence, continued he, 
I am astonished that you have not delivered my land from 
the yoke of the Saracens. The apostle's appropriation of 
territory was somewhat whimsical, but Charles did not 
dispute his title. This prince, however, seems not to have 
been renowned for a retentive memory, and accordingly 
the apostle took the precaution, on the following night, of 
renewing his suggestion. 

In consequence of these successive admonitions, Charles 
entered Spain with a large army [c. 1], and invested Pam- 
peluna. He lay three months before this town, but could 
not take it ; because, says the chronicle, it was impreg- 
nable. At the end of this period, however, he bethought 
himself of prayer, on which the walls followed the example 
of their tottering prototypes of Jericho. The Saracens who 
chose to embrace Christianity were spared, but those who 
persisted in infidelity were put to the sword. Charles 
then paid his respects to the sarcophagus of James, and 
Turpin had the satisfaction of baptizing a great proportion 
of the Gallicians in the neighbourhood [c. 2]. 

The main object with this bishop and his master was 
to destroy all the idols which could be discovered; an 
undertaking which, among a people who abominate 
idolatry, must have required a very patient research. At 
length these images were completely extirpated, except an 
obstinate mawmet at Cadiz, which could not be broken, 
because it was inhabited by a cluster of demons [c. 4]. 

After this Charles founded a number of churches, and 
endowed them with much wealth ; grants which were 
afterwards reclaimed with great zeal by a successor, who 
boasted him as a prototype [c. 5] . 

Charles had scarcely returned to France, when a 
strenuous pagan, named Aigolandus, recovered the whole 
country, which obliged the French monarch to return with 
great armies, of which he gave the command to Milo, the 
father of Orlando [c. 6]. 

While these troops were lying at Bayonne, a soldier, 
named Eomaricus, died, after having ordered one of his 
relations to sell his horse, and distribute the price among 


the clergy and the poor. His kinsman sold the horse, but 
spent the money in carousing. After thirty days the 
deceased, who had been detained that time in purgatory, 
appeared in a dream, upbraided his faithless executor for 
the misapplication of the alms, and notified to him that 
he might depend on being in Tartarus in the course of the 
following day. While reporting this uncomfortable assur- 
ance next morning to his fellow- soldiers, he is hurried off 
by a flight of demons, and dashed against a rock as a pre- 
liminary to subsequent punishment [c. 7]. 

After this there follows a long account of the war with 
Aigolandus, which was first carried on by two hundred, or 
two thousand, soldiers, on one part, engaging an equal 
number of the enemy : but at length a general battle was 
fought, in which were slsim forty thousand Christians, Milo 
the commander of the forces, and the horse of Charles. 
Next day, however, the French having been reinforced by 
four thousand men from the coast of Italy, Aigolandus fled 
to a different part of the peninsula, and Charles departed 
for France [c. 8]. 

Aigolandus now carried the war into Gascony, followed 
by the Moabites, Ethiopians, Parthians, and Africans [c. 
9]. At Sanctona (Saintonge), previous to a great battle, 
certain Christians having fixed their spears in the ground 
towards night, found them decorated next morning with 
leaves, which signified to the proprietors of these warlike 
instruments that they were about to obtain the crown of 
martyrdom [c. 10]. Aigolandus was defeated in the battle 
with the loss of four thousand of his troops, and fled to 
Pampeluna. Thither he was followed by Charles, and an 
army of a hundred and thirty-four thousand men [c. 11]. 
On this occasion the reader is presented with a list of the 
chief warriors, among whom are mentioned the names of 
Orlando, Rinaldo, Oliviero, and Oano. Charles having ar- 
rived at Pampeluna, received a message from Aigolandus, 
requesting a truce till his army should come forth fully 
prepared for war [c. 12]. 

This being granted, Aigolandus in the interval paid a 
visit to Charles, and was much astonished to hear himself 
attacked as an usurper in the Arabic tongue, which Charles 
had learned at Coletus (Toulouse). Aigolandus expostu- 


lated, tliat his competitor had no right either in his own 
person, or derived from his ancestors, to the throne of Spain ; 
but Charles replied, that the country must be conquered 
for the extension of the Christian religion. This brought 
on a theological dispute between the two sovereigns, which 
terminated in a resolution to fight on the following day, 
with a hundred soldiers against a hundred, and a thousand 
against a thousand : but Aigolandus being ultimately van- 
quished in this singular species of warfare, agreed to be 
baptized with his people. For this purpose he came to 
Charles next day, and found that monarch carousing, while 
thirteen naked beggars were sitting on the ground looking 
on the feast. The malapert heathen asked who these were. 
Charles replied, rather unfortunately, that they were the 
people of God whom he was feeding, and that they re- 
presented the apostles. Aigolandus thereupon notified 
that he would have nothing to do with such a faith 
[c. 14].^ 

Next day a pitched battle was fought, in which Aigolandus 
having only a hundred thousand troops, and his enemy a 
superiority of thirty-four thousand, was entirely defeated, 
and was himself slain, which demonstrated the propriety 
of the mode which Charles had adopted of entertaining the 
representatives of the apostles [c. 15]. 

The French monarch next carried on a war against Furra, 
a prince of Navarre. On the approach of a battle, he 
prayed that the sign of the cross mi^ht appear on the 
shoulder of those who were predestined to perish in the 
action. In order to evade the decrees of Providence, Charles 
shut up the soldiers who had been marked in consequence 
of this application, in his oratory ; but on returning from 
the battle, in which he vanquished the enemy, he foimd 
that all those he had in ward were dead, to the number of 
a hundred and fifty, which evinced the impiety of his pre- 
caution [c. 17]. 

While in Navarre, it is reported to Charles that a Syrian 
giant of first-rate enormity, called Ferracutus (the Ferrau 

^ A similar story occurs in the Cento Novelle Antiche, No. 24. In 
this case the answer is " gli amici di lor Signore." Sachetti (Nov. 115), 
tells the same story, with a Spanish Jew instead of a Sultan. — H. 


of the Italians)/ had appeared at Nagera. This creature 
possessed most exuberant proportions : he was twelve 
cubits high, his face was a cubit in length, and his nose 
a measured palm. As soon as Charles arrived at Nagera, 
this unwieldy gentleman proposed a single combat, but 
the king was so little tempted by a personal survey, that 
he declined his offer. Ogerius the Dane was therefore se- 
lected as the Christian champion, but the giant trussing 
him under one arm, carried him off to the town, and 
served a succession of knights in a similar manner, Or- 
lando at length went out against him. The Saracen, as 
■usual, commenced the attack by pulling his antagonist from 
the saddle, and rode off with him, till Orlando, exerting all 
his force, seized him by the chin, and both fell to the 
ground. When they had remounted, the knight thinking 
to kill the pagan, only cut off the head of his horse. Fer- 
rau being now on foot, Orlando struck a blow on his arm 
that knocked the sword from his hand ; on which the 
giant slew his adversary's horse with a pat of his fist. 
After this the opponents fought on foot, and with swords, 
till towards evening, when Ferrau demanded a truce till 
next day. 

In the morning Orlando had recourse to a new sort of 
implement ; he attacked his enemy with an immense club, 
which had no more effect than the finer weapon. The 
champions now assaulted each other with stones ; but when 
this species of warfare was at the hardest, giants being 
naturally prone to somnolency, Ferrau became overpowered 
with sleep, and again begged a truce. When he had com- 
posed himself to rest, his courteous antagonist placed a 
stone below his head, that he might sleep more softly. 
When he awoke, Orlando took an opportimity of asking 
him how he was so hardy, that he neither dreaded sword 
nor batoon. The giant, who must have been more remark- 

^ Boiardo (Orlando Innamorato, i. iv. 8) with whom Berni agrees, 
calls Ferragu's father Falsirone and his mother Laufusa, mentioned as 
a witch by Ariosto (Orl. Fur., xxv. 74, xxxv. 74). The incidents of 
Ferragu's carrying off his antagonists under his arm is used by Boiardo, 
i. 4, 40, 7, 12, and of his religious disputation, i. 18, 41, etc. Sec 
further respecting Farragut in Boiardo's " Roland," von G. Regis, 
Glossar., p. 407. 


able for strength than caution, explained the whole mys- 
tery, by acknowledging that he was everywhere invulner- 
able except in the navel. Ferrau, in his turn, made less, 
pertinent enquiries concerning the name, lineage, and faith 
of his foe. This last subject being started, Orlando, hoping 
to make a convert, explained the articles of his creed. The 
giant opened the controversy by questioning the possibility 
of three being one, but Orlando vanquished his arithmetical 
scruples by a number of ingenious illustrations ; as that an 
almond is a single nut, though it consists of three things, 
the husk, the shell, and the kernel. The disputant replied, 
that he had now a very clear conception how three made 
one, but that he was scandahzed at a virgin producing. 
Orlando reminded him that there was nothing more re- 
markable in this, than in the original creation of Adam. 
Our giant readily waived this point, but could not compre- 
hend how a G-od could die. The arguments on this head 
he seems to have been as little prepared to canvass as the 
other topics, but entrenched himself within what he con- 
sidered his last stronghold, that the G-od who died could 
not come ahve again. It was argued by Orlando, that 
there was nothing impossible in this, as Elijah and Elisha 
readily revived after their death, and that the dead cubs of 
a lioness can be resuscitated on the third day, by the breath 
of the mother. Orlando must, no doubt, have expected, 
that the ingenuity of this last illustration would have com- 
pleted the work of conversion ; what then must have been 
his disappointment, when the pertinacious Saracen, by de- 
manding that a sword should be admitted into the con- 
ference, proved that his head was as impenetrable to argu- 
ment as his body to the incomparable edge of Durindana. 
In the ensuing combat, Orlando made great use of the in- 
formation he had received concerning the perforable part 
of his antagonist, who being slain in consequence, the 
city of Nagera surrendered to the arms of Charlemagne 
[c. 18]. 

After this success, the French monarch received intelli- 
gence that Ebraim, king of Sibilia (Seville), who had 
escaped from the battle before Pampeluna, was encamped 
at Cordova, ready to resist his invasion. Charles, without 
loss of time, marched to the south of Spain. When the 


French vanguard approached the enemy, it found that the 
troops of the hostile army wore bearded masks, that they 
had added horns to their heads, and that each soldier held 
a drum in his hand, which he beat with prodigious violence. 
The horses, quite unaccustomed to this sort of masquerade, 
immediately took fright, and spread considerable confusion 
in the Christian army, which with difficulty retreated to an 
eminence. Next day, however, previous to an attack, 
Charles ordered his horses to be hoodwinked, and their 
ears to be stopped with wax. This stratagem, or ars mira- 
hilis, as it is called in the chronicle, rendered useless the 
martial prelude of the enemy, and gained Charles the vic- 
tory. A similar device is resorted to, on a like occasion, in 
the metrical romance of Kichard Coeur de Lion, by the 
English monarch.' 

The capture of Cordova was the immediate fruit of the 
success of Charlemagne, and Spain being now entirely sub- 
dued, the conqueror made a proper partition cf the king- 
dom. He bestowed Navarre on the Britons, Castille on the 
French, and Arragon on the Greeks, while Andalusia and 
Portugal were assigned to the Flemings [c. 19]. 

After the account of this distribution, the historian most 
seasonably introduces a description of the person of his 
hero, and the capacities of his stomach. As to his external 
appearance, he had dark hair, a ruddy countenance, a stern 
aspect, but a graceful and elegant form. This, indeed, ap- 
pears from his dimensions, for his legs were thick, his alti- 
tude eight feet, and his belly protuberant. His daily con- 
sumption of provisions, though almost incredible, scarcely 
exceeds that of Louis XIV., of whose diet an account has 
been served up in the Walpoliana.^ During night, Charles 
was guarded by a hundred and twenty of the orthodox, 
who relieved each other during three watches, ten being 
placed at his head, ten at his feet, and the same number 
on either side, each holding a naked falchion in one hand 
and a burning torch in the other [c. 21]. 

When Charles had arrived as far as Pampeluna on his 
return to France, he bethought himself that he had yet left 
in Spain two Saracen kings, Marsirius (the same who in 

^ See Ellis, Metr. Rom. iii. p. 267, etc. 

' This reference of Dunlop's would seem to be erroneous. 


Ariosto is present at the siege of Paris by Agramante), and 
his brother Beligandus, who reigned jointly at Csesarau- 
gusta (Saragossa). To these miscreants he despatched 
Gannalon (the Gan Traditor of Italian poets) ^ to expatiate 
on the necessity of their paying tribute and receiving bap- 
tism. They sent Charles a quantity of sweet wine and a 
thousand houris, but at the same time bribed the ambas- 
sador to betray his master. Gannalon, on his return to 
head-quarters, reported that Marsirius was well disposed 
to become a Christian and to pay tribute. Trusting to this 
information, Charles made a disposition on his march to 
France, by which he lost the half of his army. He him- 
self passed the Pyrenees in safety with part of his troops ; 
but the second division, commanded by Orlando, consisting 
of 20,000 men, was unexpectedly attacked in the defiles of 

^ Ganelon is placed by Dante (Inf. xxxii.) in the second division of 
the ninth circle of Hell : — 

" I turn'd 
And saw before and underneath my feet 
A lake whose frozen surface liker seem'd 
To glass than water .... thus low 
Blue pinched and shrined in ice the spirits stood, 
Moving their teeth in shrill note like the stork. 
His face each downward held ; their mouth the cold, 
Their eyes express'd the dolour of their heart. 

If I misdeem not, Soldanieri bides, 
With Ganellon, and Tribaldello," etc. 

While, on the one hand, very various etymologies have been suggested 
for the word Ganelon, on the other it has been sought to dei-ive from it 
the Romance verb ingannare, engaiiar, to cheat, a word from which more 
probably, however, the name itself took origin. Ingannare, old French 
engigner, is probably from ingenmm in its later sense of dolus, astutia. 
Ganelon became a mediaeval proverbial type of perfidy. The historical 
personage which underlies the character is probably the Aquitanian 
Duke Lope or Lupus, see Grimm (Einleitung zum Kolandslied, p. cxix.), 
who cites a document dated January 21, 845, issued by Charles the 
Bald, wherein the latter calls Lupus, " omnibus pejoribus pessimus, ac 
perfidissimus supra omnes mortales, operibus et nomine Lupus, latro 
potius quam dux dicendus," etc. See F. W. V. Schmidt, Wiener 
Jahrb., bd. xxxi. p. 101, and Regis, Boiardo, p. 415-16. See also Du- 
cange (voc, Ganelo), who conjectures an identity between Ganelon and 
Guinille or Wenille, upon whom Charles the Bald conferred the arch- 
bishopric of Sens. 


Roncesvalles, by a guerilla of 50,000 Saracens, and was cut 
to pieces, except Orlando and a few knights [c. 22]/ 

The main body of the pagans having retired, Orlando 
discovered a stray Saracen, whom he bound to a tree. 
After this exploit he ascended an eminence, and sounded 
his ivory horn,- which rallied around him a hundred Chris- 
tians, the remains of his army. Though the pagans had, 
with little loss to themselves, reduced his soldiers from 
20,000 to 100, Orlando by no means despaired of dis- 
comfiting the host of his enemy. He returned with his 
small band to the Saracen he had put in durance, and 
threatened to kill him imless he would show him Mar- 
sirius. The Saracen yielded to so powerful an argument, 
and pointed out his king, who was distinguished by his 
bay horse and round shield. Orlando rushed among the 
pagans and slew their monarch, which induced Beligandus 
to fall back with his army on Saragossa. In this brilliant 
enterprise the hundred Christians were killed, and their 
commander severely wounded. Wandering through a 
forest, Orlando arrived alone at the entrance to the pass of 
Cisera, where, exhausted with wounds, and grieving for 
the loss of his army, he threw himself under a tree. As a 
refreshment, he commenced a long address to his sword 
Durindana,^ which he complimented with all the super- 

^ The valley of Eoncesvalles, where this catastrophe is supposed to 
have happened, lies to the north-east of Fampeluna. It extends to St. 
Jean Pied de Porte in Basse Navarre, and receives its name from the 
mountain of Koneesvalles, which terminates this plain, and is accounted 
the highest of the Pyrenees. 

' Named Olivant or Oliphant. Turpin calls it '' tuba eburnea." 

^ The name is found with several variations, Durandal, Durendar, 
Durrenda, Durandarda. Boiardo makes it first Hector's, then Almont's, 
then Roland's sword. For conjectured etymologies see Ducange, Gloss. 
See also Kegis, Boiardo, p. 406, for an account of the weapon. In the 
same connection may be consulted an article upon swords in the Con- 
temporary Review, vol. xxxviii. p. 595, etc. Plutarch says (Mallet's 
Northern Antiquities, cit.) that the heroes of the Cimbri called their 
swords by such names as might inspire terror. 

See an article on Swords of Celtic Romance, All the Year Round, 
1879, xxii. p. 271. 

Sword Names. 
Balmung, in the Nibelungenlied. Siegfried's sword. 
Ascalon. St. George's. Seven Champions. 


latives in the Latin language — " Fortitudine firmissime, 
capulo eburneo eandidissime, cruce aurea splendidissime," 
&c. &c. 

The dying champion next blew his horn with such force 
that he burst it.^ Charles, who was then in Gascony, 
heard the peal distinctly, and wished to return to the suc- 
cour of his nephew, but was persuaded by Gannalon that 
he could be in no danger, and that he was merely taking 
the diversion of hunting in the forests. The blast, however, 
brought to him Theodoricus, the only surviving knight. 
Orlando had received the Sacrament that morning, and 
had confessed himself to certain priests, which this learned 
chronicle informs us was the universal custom of knights 
before proceeding to battle. Nothing, therefore, remained 
for the hero but to make a long prayer before he expired.^ 

Marandaise. Eyance's. 

Excalibur or Caliburn. King Arthur's. 

Arondight. Lancelot's. 

Joyeuse. Charlemagne's. 

Durindana. Roland's. 

rioberge. Renaud de Montauban's. 

Maroke. Sir Eglamour's; 

Morglay. Sir Bevis of Hampton's. 

Tizona (Firebrand). The Cid's. 

Colada. The Cid's second. 

Bowannee. Sivajee's (India). 

Corouge. Sir Otuel's. 

Curtana. At coronation of Henry IH. 

Crocea Mors. J. Caesar's. 

^ This horn has been of infinite service to future poets and romancers. 
Logystilla, in the Orlando Furioso (c. 15, 14), bestows it on Astolpho, and 
Prince Arthur's squire is furnished with a similar one by Spenser 
(Faery Queen, b. i. c. viii. st. 3, 4). Warton (History of English Poetry, 
ed. 1871, ii. p. 135) thinks the idea of this potent horn may have origi- 
nated in Simeon Seth's "Life of Alexander." Warton, however, 
merely writes as he says from memory, and may have had in his mind 
the history De Cornu Sancti Simeonis, apud Gervase, Tilbur. Otia Im- 
per. iii. 70. These marvellous horns are perhaps to be traced to that of 
Alecto in ./Eneis vii. 513. 

The idea, says Liebrecht, in a note on the present passage, may be 
more plausibly regarded as a reflection of the Gjallarhorn of Heimdal, 
audible throughout the world, and wherewith he is to give the signal for 
battle at the Twilight of the Gods. The whistle of the Slavonic robber 
chief Solovyof is audible afar and slays all (except the hero) whose ears 
it reaches. 

^ It may be noted, however, that the knights sometimes confessed one 


At this very moment Turpiu was standing by King 
Charles, saying mass for the souls of certain persons lately 
deceased, and informs the reader, that while thus em- 
ployed, he heard the songs of the angels who were convey- 
ing Orlando to Heaven. At the same time a phalanx of 
demons passed before the archbishop, and notified that 
they were so far on their way to Gehenna with the soul of 
one Marsirius, but that Michael, with an angel crowd, was 
conveying the trumpeter aloft (Tubicinem virum cum 
multis Michael fert ad superna). As no person could doubt 
the accuracy of these respectable deponents, Turpin an- 
nounced to Charles the death of his nephew. Charles 
immediately returned to Eoncesvalles, where he uttered a 
learned lamentation over the remains of Orlando, whom 
he compared to Samson, Saul, Jonathan, and Judas Mac- 
cabeus, and then embalmed the body with balsam, myrrh, 
and aloes. 

Charles now thought of taking vengeance on the hea- 
then, as an incitement to which the sun held out to him 
the same encouragement it had formerly done to Joshua. 
By this means he came up with the Saracens, while yet 
reposing on the banks of the Ebro in the neighbourhood 
of Saragossa. Of them he killed four thousand, a favourite 
number with this historian, and then returned to Eon- 
cesvalles. Here he instituted an inquiry into the conduct 
of G-annalon, and the champion of that traitor having been 
slain in single combat, he was tied to the four most ferocious 
horses in the army, and thus torn to pieces. 

There is next related the manner in which the Chris- 
tians preserved the bodies of their friends, and the final 
interment of each species of mummy. ^ 

to another, when no priest was at hand. Sec Joinville, Histoire de St. 
Louis, ed. De Wailly, Paris, 1874, p. 195. There were also symbolical 
or superstitious forms of communion, with leaves, etc. See Chanson de 
Roland, ed. L. Gautier, line 2023, and note. See also Caesarius Heister- 
bacensis Dial, de Mirac. Distinctio 5, cap. xix. ; and Hugo Grotius^ 
Dissert, de Ccenae Administratione ubi pastores non sunt. Letters con- 
taining some information on these points appeared in the '♦ Tablet," 
January and February, 1886. 

' The origin and incidents of this expedition of Charlemagne are told 
in a totally different manner by the Spanish historians. They assert 
that Charlemagne was called into Spain by Alphonso, king of Leon, on 


The emperor having returned to Paris, St. Denis in- 
formed him, in a dream, that all those who had fallen in 
Spain had their sins forgiven ; and at the same time took 
the opportunity of mentioning that a similar mercy would 
be extended to those who gave money for building his 
church. Those who contributed willingly were freed from 
all servitude, whence the name of Gaul was changed into 

Charles had been much debilitated by his campaign in 
the peninsula. For the sake of the warm baths he re- 
paired to Leodio (Liege), where he built a palace, in which 
was painted the story of his wars in Spain. Now it fell 
out that one day, while Turpin, who resided at Yiennes, 
was officiating before the altar, a host of demons, who 
seem to be the newsmongers in this history, passed before 
him with unusual velocity. Having interrogated one of 
these, who resembled an Ethiopian, and was lagging be- 
hind the rest, he was advertised that they were all going 
to attend at the death of Charles, and hurry his soul to 
Tartarus. Turpin requested that, having despatched their 
errand, they would return with the earliest intelligence. 
The fiends were faithful to their appointment, but were 
reduced to the mortifying acknowledgment that a G-ali- 
cian, without a head, having weighed the sins and merits 
of Charles, had deprived them of their expected prize, and 
conveyed the soul in a quite contrary direction from what 
they had intended. In fifteen days after, a special mes- 
senger or express arrived at Yiennes, who confirmed the 
deposition of the demons as to the death of Charles, a loss 
which could have excited no surprise, as the sun and moon 

a promise to nominate him as a successor if he would assist in the expul- 
sion of the Moors. Charlemagne was successful in his efforts against the 
infidels, but the' nobles and chieftains of Alphonso disapproving of the 
ulterior part of their sovereign's compact, supported by Bernardo del 
Carpio, and at length by their own monax-ch, attacked and cut to pieces 
an immense army, with which the French emperor had encamped on the 
plain of Roncesvalles. The incidents are represented in a similar manner 
in the Spanish romantic poems. In the Orlando of Nicholas Espinosa, 
Con el verdadero success© de la famosa Batalla de Roncesvalles, pub- 
lished 1557, Bernardo del Carpio stifles Orlando to death, and the poet 

" Cantera la verdad aquesta historia, 
Y no segun Turpin Frances lo siente." 


had prepared the minds of his subjects for the event, by 
assuming a black colour for six days preceding his decease. 
Besides, his name was spontaneously effaced from a church ; 
and a wooden bridge over the Rhine, which took six years 
to build, had been recently consumed by internal fire. 

Turpin concludes his history with a remark, which seems 
to be intended as the moral of the whole work, that he 
who builds a church on earth cannot fail of obtaining a 
palace in Heaven. 

I have given this minute analysis of the absurd chronicle 
of Turpin in deference to the common opinion, that it had 
a remarkable influence on the early romances relating to 
Charlemagne, and thence on the splendid monuments of 
human genius that have been erected by the Itahan poets. 
It must, however, be remarked, that there are few incidents 
in this work which breathe the spirit of romantic fiction. 
There are no castles nor dragons, no amorous knights, and 
no distressed damsels. The chronicle is occupied with 
wars on an extensive scale, and with the theological con- 
troversies of chiefs in the Saracen and Christian aiTaies. 
Indeed the camj^aign of Charlemagne seems to have been 
chiefly formed on the model of the wars of Joshua. Jericho 
and Pampeluna fall in the same manner into the hands of 
the besiegers : the stratagem of Marsirius resembles that 
of the Gribeonites, and the victors divide the conquered 
lands in a similar manner among their followers. Many 
wonders, it is true, are related in the chronicle of Turpin, 
but they more resemble the miracles of the monkish legends 
than the beautiful fables that decorate romance. These 
fictions, according to the j^rinciples already established, 
must have flowed from other sources, though the historical 
materials to be found in some of the romances of Charle- 
magne may have been derived from the chronicle.^ It has 
been much doubted whether the Italian poets consulted 
the original Turpin. Ariosto quotes him for stories of 
which he does not say a single word, and which are the 
most absurd and incredible in his poem ; as Voltaire, subse- 
quently, in the Pucelle d'Orleans, laid the 07ins j^rohandi 
on the Abbe Tritheme. Thus in the Orlando Furioso, 

^ Modern critics no longer hold this view. See note infra, p. 293. 


Scrive Turpino, come furo ai Passi 
Dell alto Atlante, che i cavalli loro 
Tutti in un punto diventaron Sassi. — C. 44, st. 23. 

Boiardo, whose Orlando Innamorato, in its original form, 
is the most serious of the romantic poems of Italy, jocularly 
calls the chronicle of Turpin his True History, as Cervantes 
terms his feigned authorities, 

La vera Historia di Turpin ragiona 
Che regnava in la terra d'Oriente, &c. 

Orl. Inn., c. 1, st. 4. 

The incidents in the Morgante Maggiore of Pulci are those 
which approach nearest to the chronicle, yet Crescimbeni 
has asserted that it was never seen by that father of 
romantic poetry.^ The conclusion of the Morgante, how- 
ever, seems almost copied from Turpin. Gano is there sent 
ambassador to King Marsiho to negotiate a treaty : he trea- 
cherously writes that this king is ready to pay tribute, and 
requests Charlemagne to send his paladins to Roncesvalles 
to receive it. There they are attacked by the Saracens. 
Orlando sounded his horn, but Gano at first persuaded 
Charles that he was hunting. At the third blast, however, 
the king proceeded to Spain, but Orlando was dead before 
his arrival. He then besieged and took Saragossa ; and, 
after the return to France, Gano was pulled to pieces by 
four horses. These circumstances bear a stronger resem- 
blance to the chronicle of Turpin than to any intermediate 
romance, for it is clear that the French romance of Mor- 
gante is not the original, but a version of the Italian poem. 
But whatever may have been its effect on the Italian 
poems, it is probable, from its wide circulation and great 
popularity, that the chronicle of Turpin had some influence 
on the romances of Charlemagne, or at least the metrical 
tales from which they were immediately formed.^ The 
work was very generally read in the fourteenth century, 
and was several times translated into French with varia- 
tions and additions. Of these versions the first is by 

^ " Luigi Pulci spesso volta la cita piu per giuoco, crediam noi, che 
perche egli 1' avesse veduta." — Istoria della Volg. Poes., i, 329. 
* See note, p. 293, and Komania, Nos. 55-56, p. 398, etc. 


Michel de Harnes, who lived as early as the time of Philip 
Augustus,' and the next by Gaguin, who was librarian to 
Charles VIII." There were also a number of French 
metrical paraphrases, which were nearly coeval with the 
original chronicle. 

In the reign of St. Louis (1226-1270) there appeared a 
romance in verse on the exploits of Charlemagne by Jean 
Bodel, which chiefly relates to the wars of that monarch 
with the Saxons and their celebrated chief Guitichens 

About the time of Philip the Hardy (1270-1285), Girard, 
or Girardin, of Amiens, composed a metrical romance on the 
actions of Charlemagne, divided into three books. Of these 
the first gives an account of an early expedition of Charles, 
under the name of Maine, into Arragon, to assist Galaf re, a 
Saracen, whose daughter he marries after vanquishing her 
father's enemies ; a story which, in a much later romance, 
is told of Charles Martel. The second book contains his 
wars in Italy against Didier, king of the Lombards, and 
differs little from what is contained in the authentic 
histories relating to Charlemagne. The third book is a 
rhythmical version of the chronicle of Turpin. 

Nearly at the same time, in another voluminous metrical 
romance, an account was given of Charlemagne's prepara- 
tions for his expedition to the Holy Land, and the adven- 
tures of some of his knights who preceded him to that 
region. Nothing, however, is said of the conquest of 
Palestine, and indeed the reality of this enterprise is denied 
by all authentic historians, though it found its way into 
many of the absurd and fabulous chronicles of the thirteenth 
and fourteenth centuries.^ 

^ See Ducange, Glossaire to Villehardouin's " Histoire de TEmpire de 
Constantinople," Paris, 1657, s.v. Bozine, Guenchir, etc. Accordino-, 
however, to Reiffcnberg, see in Philippe, Mouskes, ii. p. elxxix. it 
was composed by Maistre Jean at the behest of Michel de Harnes, a 
Belgian nobleman. — Lieb. 

- Hist. Litt. de la France, iv. p. 209. 

^ On this Chanson du pelerinage de Charlemagne, see an article in 
Romania, ix. (1880), pp. 1-50, by M. Gaston Paris, who shows that it 
may probably have been composed in the eleventh century, before the 
first crusade, but not have received its present form till the thirteenth 
century. An analysis and account of the work is given by Leon Gautier, 

I. u 



There is anotlier work somewliat resembling tlie chronicle 
of Turpin, which, according to the authors of L'Histoire 
Litteraire de la France, was not later than the middle of the 
tenth century, while the Count de Cajlus places its compo- 
sition in the reign of Louis IX. (1226-1270). It is called 

in Epopees Franijaises, iii. (1880). It has been edited by F. Michel, 
London, 1836, and by E. Koschwitz, in the Altfranzosische Bibliothek 
(Heilbronn, 1880), from the only MS. extant, formerly in the British 
Museum (Reg. 16, E. viii.). Simon de Pouille, another chanson de geste 
of about 5,200 alexandrines, relating an expedition sent by Charlemagne 
against the Saracens in the East, is also analyzed by Michel in the work 
above mentioned. Ward, Cat. i. pp. 625-629. The printed prose version 
of Charlemagne's pilgrimage, which appeared under the name of Galyen 
Rhetore, or Restore, will be found described further on, p. 315. Albericus 
Trium Fontium, under date 802, mentions an expedition of Charlemagne 
to Constantinople and Jerusalem. — Lieb. 

This figment of Charlemagne's voyage to the East offers a striking 
example of the growth of fiction about a historical personage, and, in 
accordance with the scope of the present work, atfords an opportunity 
for presenting the reader with a view of the filiation of the different 
versions of the romance, as deduced from the internal evidence of the 
material extant, by modern specialist critics, and will be as good a way 
as any of giving some idea of the nature of their labour, though by no 
means of its extent, which has in recent years attained enormous pro- 

The Danish fifteenth century Karl Magnus's " Krbnicke," and the old 
Swedish version, have both been deduced to a common source, which is 
no longer extant, and may, therefore, be hypothetically designated by a. 
Similarly, the four known Norse manuscripts, distinguished into two 
groups, are all derived through probable intermediate texts, a, /3, from 
a prior supposed text, k, which also perhaps w^as the basis of the Ice- 
landic rhymed Geiplur. k and a are regarded as descended from the 
Karlamagnus Saga in the text edited Christiania, 1860. Now, besides 
the above Scandinavian forms of the work, several French prose versions 
of the romance exist : that known as the Arsenal Library MS., and 
that which passed under the name of Galiende Restore, which itself has 
various texts. These later prose versions exhibit indications of an imme- 
diate metrical source, no longer known, v, which in its turn proceeds, 
with the Karlamagnus Saga, from a common fount, again hypothetical, 
y. In collateral relation to this fount, y, stands the Welsh Ystoria 
Charles of the Mabinogion, both being further referred to a supposed 
text, z, which again is derived from the same original, o, as the old 
French Chanson du pelerinage de Charlemagne, Brit. Mus. ^Qg. 16, 
E. viii. So that the stemma may be thus represented : — 


Philomena,^ a name derived from that of a jiresumed con- 
temporary of Charlemagne, to whom it was attributed, and 
by whom it was reported to have been composed en langue 
vulgaire. It is said to have been subsequently translated into 
Latin, between 1015-1019, by a certain Vidal or Gilles, at the 
request of Bernard, abbot of the monastery of Notre Dame 

Chanson du z 
pelerinage de I 
Charlfmagne. | 




Karl Magnus Saga. 



Rhymed Norse Norse Old Karl Arsenal Galien Rethore, 

Icelandic MSS., MSS., Swedish Magnus MS. Viaggio in Ispag- 

Geiplur. group 1. group 2. version. Kronik, na, ed. by Ceruti. 

Danish. | 

Eighteenth cen- 
tury imitations by 
La Chaussee, and 
M. J. Chenier. 

The works which have been cousulted for these remarks, and in which 
the subject may be further pursued are : — 

G. Paris, Histoire Poetique de Charlema^e, Paris, 1865 ; E. Kosch- 
witz, Karls des Grossen Reise nach Jerusalem, Bd. ii. of the Allfranzo- 
sische Bibliothek, Heilbronn, 1880 ; E. Koschwitz, Sechs Bearbeitungen 
des Altfranzosischen Gedichts von Karls . . , Reise, etc, Heilbronn, 
1879 ; and E. Koschwitz, Ueberlieferung und Sprache der Chanson du 
Voyage de Charlemagne, etc, Heilbronn, 1876, and M. Leon Gautier's 
fine work, " Les Epopees Fran(;aises," etc, 1878, etc., vol. iii. 

^ The Philomena has been edited by S. Ciampi, under the title, Gesta 
Caroli Magni ad Carcassonam et Narbonam et de aedificatione Monas- 
terii Crassensis (Florence, 1823). This Latin text is pronounced by 
M. Paul Meyer (Recherches sur I'Epopee francaise, 1867, pp. 26-33) to 
be a translation from the Provencal text, composed about 1200, which 
has been preserved only, as far as is known, in|the British Museum MS. 
21,218, and in a Gascon variety in the Bibliotheque Nationale MS. Er. 
2232. See Ward, Cat., vol. i. p. 596-8, where reference to various 
notices of the work will be found. Specimens of the Proven9al text, 
which has not been printed as yet in extenso, will be found in the Bib- 
liotheque des Romans, October, 1777, i, p. 170. See also the Academic 
des Inscriptions, etc., vol. xxi. ; Gaillard, Hist, de Charlemagne, 
iii. 384. 


de la G-rasse. It contains an account of the exploits of the 
emperor against the Moors of Spain, but is more especially 
devoted to the history and miracles of the abbey, the 
foundation of which the author attributes to Charlemagne. 
In the 

Eeali di Francia,^ 

an ancient Italian chronicle, we are presented with a 
fabulous account of the early periods of the French 
monarchy previous to the age of Charlemagne, the first 
exploits of that monarch, and the amours of Milo, father 
of Orlando, with Bertha, Charlemagne's sister. 

There were also many rhythmical French romances on 
the subject of the paladins of Charlemagne. The northern 
bards, who followed Rollo to France, introduced their native 
traditions ; those, for instance, relating to Ogier the Dane, 
and other northern heroes, who were afterwards enlisted 
into the tales of chivalry. The earliest French metrical 
romances related, as we have seen, to Arthur ; but when 
Normandy had fallen under the dominion of the kings of 
France, and that country began to look on England with 
an eye of jealousy, which was the prelude to more open 
hostility, the native minstrels changed their theme of the 
praises of the Eound Table knights to the more acceptable 
subject of the paladins of Charlemagne. In the thirteenth 
century, Adenez, who was a kind of poet laureat to 
Henry III., duke of Brabant, wrote the metrical romance, 
L'Fnfance d'Ogier le Danois ; and about the same period, 
Huon de Villeneuve produced the still more celebrated 
compositions of E-egnauld de Montauban, Doolin de 
Mayence, Maugis d'Aigremont, and Quatre fils Aimon. 

^ Li sei libri de li Reali di Franza: ne liquali se contienenola genera- 
tione delli Imperatori ; Ee ; Duclii ; Principi ; Baroni ; Paladini di 
Franza : con li gran fatti & battaglie da loro fatte. Commenzando da 
Constantino Imperatore fino ad Orlando conte Daglante. Dunlop says, 
so little of this work, notwithstanding its importance in connection with 
the Carlovingian romances, that one is led to think he may not have seen 
the work itself, which, despite numerous impressions, is rare in the old 
editions, while the later North-Italian popular reprints are often very 
incomplete, and sometimes want the sixth book. — Wiener Jahrb., xxxi. 
p. 105. 


The metrical romances above mentioned ^ may be con- 

^ The popular ballads, or cantilones, as French writers have styled 
them, where the exploits of the jjreat Charles were sung and handed 
down from his own to later days, formed at once the basis of the longer 
chatisuns de gcste and of such spurious relations as Turpin's Chronicle. 
Wholly distinct from sober history, as recorded in works such as Egin- 
hart's '• Memoir of Charlemagne," written in Latin, and therefore acces- 
sible to but few, they were composed in the language of the people, 
uncommitted to writing, and consequently subject to all the diversify, 
ing and differentiating influences of oral tradition. The French, the 
Spaniards, and the Gascons have all their different versions of the 
defeat of Koncesvalles. Turpin's Chronicle, far from being the founda- 
tion of this early poetical fund (see supra, pp. 287, etc.), is composed 
either from the Chanson de Koland, as it is now known, or upon the 
previously existing materials which supplied the foundation of that poem, 
now claimed by the French as a national epic. In the absence of written 
monuments recent French criticism, taking into consideration Charle- 
magne's Frankish nationality, has manifested a strong tendency to re- 
gard this earlier ballad literature as Teutonic in language, though a 
reaction against this theory may be surely looked for soon. The ballads 
no doubt celebrated single episodes and incidents, and must have been 
sung in both Romance and Teutonic dialects. There is, indeed, a record 
of how one such metrical tale (see Gautier, Roland, Introd., p. xvii.) 
was handed down and sung in chorus by women. They may, perhaps, 
be looked on as analogous with the numerous early ballads of Spain, or 
with those which were incorporated into the Saxon Chronicle. In the 
eleventh century we find i\xe jongleurs, or wandering minstrels, forming 
a class in France, whose profession it was to amuse by chanting or 
reciting such ballads. They had thus the opportunity and materials 
for the combination of these into the longer chaiisons de geste, a work 
which was also done by the trouveurs, or professional poets, who com- 
mitted their woi'ks to writing, which have thus remained to us, while the 
earlier songs, the original scattered components, have been lost. These 
longer works in the fifteenth centuiy were reproduced in prose, a form 
in which they have been fixed by the invention of printing, while it has 
been left for the erudite of the present century to re-awaken national 
interest in the poems which had remained so long the manuscript trea- 
sures of libraries and the learned. The prose form of these romances is 
that from Avhich they were conveyed to England, as for instance in the 
translations of Lord Berners (Huon), and that (of Aymon) ascribed to 
Caxton and others. It is to be regretted that the prose romances were 
so degenerate in comparison with the poems on which they were founded. 
Charlemagne, the hero of the earlier works, often becomes a mere dotard 
in the later compositions. It is unnecessary to dwell longer here on this 
subject, whereon so much has recently been written. Good articles in 
several leading English magazines upon the Song of Roland have been, 
during the last few years, particularly numerous. Information of a 
more detailed character will be found in the introduction to M. Leon 
Gautier's edition of Roland, in M. Gaston Paris' dissertation on Turpin, 


sidered as sources wliicli supplied with materials the early 
wi'iters of the prose romances relating to Charlemagne ; 
but though they may have suggested his expedition to 
Spain and the Holy Land, with several other circum- 
stances, the authors of the prose romances of Charlemagne 
seem to have written more from fancy, and less slavishly 
to have followed the metrical tales by which they were 
preceded, than the compilers of the fables concerning 
Arthur. They added incidents which were the creatures 
of their own imagination, and embellished their dreams 
with the speciosa miracula, derived from the fables of 
Arabia, or from northern and classical mythology. Heroes 
of romance, besides, are frequently decorated with the 
attributes belonging to their predecessors or descendants. 
Many of the events related in the romantic story of 
Charlemagne are historically true with regard to Charles 
Martel. When the fame of the latter was eclipsed by the 
renown of Charlemagne, the songs of the minstrels and 
legends of the monks transferred the exploits of the 
Armorican chief to his more illustrious descendant. 

Thus, from the ancient chronicles and early metrical 
romances ; from the exploits of individual heroes, concen- 
trated in one ; from the embellishments added by the 
imagination of the author, and the charms of romantic 
fiction, sprung those formidable compilations we are about 
to encounter, and which form the second division of Ro- 
mances of Chivalry. 

It is still more difiicult to fix the dates of the fabulous 
times relating to Charlemagne than of those of the Round 


though written in verse as far back as the thirteenth cen- 

in remarks of Lee, Hausknecht, and others, prefixed to the Charlemagne 
romances published by the English Text Societ}'-, and, accessible to 
everyone, the introduction prefixed to O'Hagan's English verse transla- 
tion of the Song of Roland, Avhere much information on the subject will be 
found inavery readable form. See Romania, Juill.-Oct., 1885, p. 398, etc. 
' Les prouesses et faictz merveilleux du noble Huon de bordeaulx, per 
de France, due de guyenne. Paris, Le Noir, 1516. The original chanson 
de geste is supposed from its dialect, etc., to be the work of a Irottvere of 
Artois. See Guessard. Les Anciens Poetes Fran9ais. 


tury, is not, in its present form, supposed to be long ante- 
rior to the invention of printing, as there are no manu- 
scripts of it extant. It is said, indeed, at the end of the 
work, that it was written by desire of Charles Seigneur do 
Rochfort, and completed on the 29th of January, 1454 ; 
but it is suspected that the conclusion is of a date some- 
what more recent than the first part of the romance. The 
oldest edition is one in folio, without date, and the second 
is in quarto, 1516.^ There are also different impressions 
in the original language of a more recent period. Huon 
of Bordeaux, indeed, seems to have been a favourite ro- 
mance, not only among the French, but also with other 
nations. The Enghsh translation, executed by Lord Ber- 
ners in the reign of Henry VIIL, has gone through three 
editions, and it has lately formed the subject of the finest 
poem in the German language. 

As the incidents in the Oberon of Wieland are nearly 
the same with those in the old French romance, and are 
universally known through the beautiful translation of 
Mr. Sotheby, it will not be necessary to give so full an 
analysis of the work as it would be otherwise entitled to, 
from its antiquity, singularity, and beauty. 

Huon, and his brother Girard, while travelling from 
their own domains of Guyenne to pay homage to Charle- 
magne, are treacherously waylaid by Chariot, the em- 
peror's son, who, by the advice of evil counsellors, had 
formed the design of appropriating their possessions. 
Having killed, though in self-defence, the favourite son of 
his sovereign, Huon could not obtain pardon, except on 
the whimsical condition that he should proceed to the 
court of the Saracen Amiral, or Emir Gaudisse, who ruled 
in Bagdad — that he should appear while this potentate 
was at table — cut off the head of the bashaw who sat at 
his right hand — kiss his daughter three times, and bring, 
as a tribute to Charlemagne, a lock of his white beard, and 
four of his most efficient grinders. 

Before setting out on this excursion, Huon proceeds to 
Eome, where he is advised by his uncle, the x^ope,^ to per- 

^ A copy in the British Museum, printed by Le Noir. bears the date 
" mil. V. cens et treize." 

^ Huon claims relationship also with the Abbot of Clugny (see infr. 


form a pilgrimage to Palestine, and thence depart on tlie 
remainder of his expedition. 

Having complied with this injunction, and visited the 
holy sepulchre, Huon sets out for the coast of the Red 
Sea, but wanders in a forest, where he supports himself 
with wild fruits and honey till the end of the third day, 
when he meets an old man of gigantic stature, naked, as 
far as clothes were concerned, but covered with long hair. 
This ancien preudhomme, as he is called, addresses Huon 
in a dialect of the French language, informs him that his 
name is G-erasmes, and that he is brother to the mayor of 
Bordeaux ; he had been made prisoner in a battle with 
the Saracens, but having escaped from slavery, and pos- 
sessing much of the sgavoir vivre, he had judiciously 
chosen to reside thirty years in the forest in his present 
comfortable predicament. 

Gerasmes informs Huon that from this wilderness two 
roads led to the states of Gaudisse, one a journey of forty 
days, the other less tedious, but extremely dangerous, as 
it passed through the forest inhabited by Oberon,^ who 
metamorphosed the knights who were bold enough to 
trespass, into hobgoblins, and animals of various de- 

p. 308), with Garyn of Saint Omers, with Macaire, and many others. 
The absurd length to which the author " pushes the endeavour, that 
characterizes the later poems of the jo7igleurs, to bring his hero into 
lineal relationship with all sorts and conditions of men with whom he 
comes in contact on his journeyings, is another testimony to the lateness 
of the present form of the legend." See Huon, p. xxvii. 

' Oberon, as the son of Julius Csesar and Morgan the Fay, is con- 
nected with the Arthurian genealogy. He resembles in many respects 
the Elberich in the story of Otnit (see infra, p. 309, etc.). Grimm 
connects the name with Alp, Alb, = elf, and he may be regarded as 
an importation from the Teutonic Pantheon, invested, however, with 
many Keltic and Christian, as well as Asiatic attributes. M. Longnon, 
in the Romania, vol. iii., has carefully worked out the probable connec- 
tion of Huon with the reign of Charles the Bald. Whatever the historical 
element in the romance, Oberon became an essential part in it as early 
as the thirteenth century. Albericus Trium Fontium, in his Chronicles, 
finished about 1240, says that in the year 810, " Hugo, qui Karolum, 
filium Karoli, casu interfecit, Almaricum proditorem in duello vicit, exul 
de Patria ad mandatum regis fugit, Alberonem, virum mirahilem et for- 
tunatum reperit, et caetera sive fabulosa sive historica connexa." See 
S. L. Lee, Introduction to Huon, Eng. trans., 1882. 


Our hero liavino^, of course, decided in favour of the 
most perilous road, he and Gerasmes penetrate into the 
thickest part of the forest of Oberon. Having followed a 
path through the wood to a considerable distance, they sit 
down almost exhausted with famine under an oak. At 
this hour Oberon, who was apparently a child of four 
years of age, of resplendent beauty, and clothed in a robe 
sparkling with precious stones, was parading through the 
forest. The dwarf accosts Huon and his attendants, but, 
enraged at their silence, raises a frightful tempest. Huon 
attempts to escape through the thickets, but is soon over- 
taken by Oberon, who allays the ^orm, and sounds a 
magic horn, which throws the attendants of Huon into 
convulsions of merriment and dancing. Oberon, at length 
having ceased to blow the horn, enters into conversation 
with the knight : he commences an account of his own 
pedigree, and declares that he is the son of Julius Caesar 
and a fairy, who was lady of the Hidden Isle, now Chifa- 
lonia, in which she had received the Eoman chief, when 
on his voyage to Thessaly to attack Pompey. Many rare 
endowments had been bestowed on Oberon at his birth, 
but a malevolent fairy, offended at not being invited to 
attend on that occasion, had decreed that his stature 
should not increase after he was three years of age. Oberon 
farther professed the utmost esteem for Huon and his 
kindred, as a proof of which he immediately raised up a 
sumptuous palace for his reception, where he was enter- 
tained with a magnificent banquet, at which the fairy pre- 
sided in great state. After the repast he presented Huon 
with a goblet, which, in the hands of a good man, sponta- 
neously filled with wine, and also the ivory horn, which, if 
softly sounded, would make everyone dance who was not 
of irreproachable character, and, if blown with violence, 
would bring Oberon himself to his assistance, at the head 
of 100,000 ^soldiers. 

Fortified with these gifts, Huon proceeds on his jour- 
ney. After travelling a few days, he arrives at the city of 
Tourmont, which he finds is governed by one of his uncles, 
who. in his youth, had gone on a penitential pilgrimage to 
Jerusalem, and having become the slave of the Emir Gau- 
disse, had been deputed to govern a Saracen city as a 


reward for renouncing the Christian faith. In this place 
Huon attracts immediate notice by feasting all the poor of 
the city out of his enchanted cup. This procures Huon a 
visit from his apostate uncle, to whom he introduces him- 
self as a nephew, and presents him with the goblet filled 
with wine ; but as his relative was a person of abandoned 
character, the liquor instantly disappears. The renegado 
receives his nephew with apparent kindness, but privately 
meditates his destruction. He accordingly invites him 
and G-erasmes to a sumptuous banquet, but orders one of 
his agas to place guards in the ante-chamber, who should 
be ready to attack the Christians. This officer was of 
French birth, and having been befriended in his youth by 
the father of Huon, he fills the ante-room with Christian 
prisoners, whom he had set at liberty. Accordingly the 
traitor's command for an attack on Huon is the signal for 
a general massacre of the pagans. The emir, however, 
having escaped, assembles his forces and besieges his 
nephew, who remained in the palace. Huon, considering 
this as an occasion sufficiently important to demand the 
assistance of Oberon, sounds his horn, and while the be- 
siegers are in consequence dancing with prodigious agility, 
the Christians are reinforced by an army of a hundred 
thousand men, with the fairy as a generalissimo. The 
governor's troops being immediately cut to pieces, and he 
himself slain, Huon prepares for his departure. Oberon 
gives him a last advice concerning his journey, warning 
him particularly not to approach the tower possessed by 
Angoulaffre, a cruel giant, who could only be vanquished 
by a person defended by a certain hauberk, which the 
monster unfortunately kept in his custody. 

To this very tower Huon directs his course, and, entering 
it while the giant is asleep, he arms himself with the fatal 
hauberk, awakens the lord of the manor, and kills him by 
the assistance of a lady, who was confined there, and who 
finds a kinsman in her deliverer. 

Huon follows up this exploit by possessing himself of a 
ring which had been sent to the giant as a tribute from 
G-audisse. Here he dismisses Grerasmes and the rest of his 
retinue, and having crossed an arm of the Red Sea on the 
back of Malebron, one of the spirits of Oberon, he at length 


arrives at Babylou (Bagdad) in Arabia, where that emir 
held his court. 

Having entered the pahice, and passed the saloon where 
the emir was banqueting with a few tributary sultans, 
Huon suddenly interrupts the pleasures of the entertain- 
ment by removing the head of the king of Hyreania, who 
was the intended husband of Esclarmonde, the daughter of 
Gaudisse, and was then seated at the right hand of her 
father. He next fulfils the second part of his mission, on 
the lips of the princess, and concludes with promulgating 
his designs against the beard and grinders of the emir. 
This potentate was but ill prepared with an answer to so 
novel a proposition, and a mode of address somewhat un- 
usual at his board. Huon, however, having produced the 
ring of Angoulaffre, is at first heard with tolerable patience ; 
but when he mentions how he became possessed of it, the 
emir orders him to be apprehended. The knight at first 
defends himself with great courage, and kills many of the 
assailants, but is at last overj^owered by numbers. It was 
now in vain to have recourse to his horn ; at the first gate 
of the palace, Huon, in order to gain admittance, had 
professed himself a Mussulman, a falsehood which rendered 
the horn of no avail, since from that moment his character 
had ceased to be irreproachable. He is loaded with chains 
and precipitated into a dungeon, where the emir intended 
he should be tormented with the punishments of hunger 
and bondage, as preparatory to that of being burned alive, 
which was in reserve. Huon receives sustenance, however, 
and many consolatory visits, from the beautiful Esclar- 
monde, interviews which must have been the more agree- 
able, as he could not be conscious of any claims to the 
favour of that princess, farther than having cut off the head 
of her lover, insulted her father, and knocked out the brains 
of liis body-guards. 

After a few tender conversations, Esclarmonde professes 
her readiness to become a Christian. In many of the ro- 
mances of Charlemagne, the fable hinges on the assistance 
given by Saracen princesses to Christian knights, and the 
treasons practised for their lovers' sake against their fathers 
or brothers. It must, indeed, be confessed, that they are not 
of the sex to which the Mahometan religion is most seductive. 


When this good understanding had been estabHshed, in 
order to secure Huon against the dangers with which he 
was threatened, his jailer, who had been bribed by Esclar- 
monde, informs the emir that his prisoner had died two 
days ago, and had been interred in the dungeon. 

At this period, Gerasmes, whom we left at the tower of 
Angoulaffre, arrives at Bagdad, and, along with Esclar- 
monde, jDlots the deliverance of Huon. The princess had 
now become so furious a Christian, that she declared to 
Huon, " que n'est homme que plus Je hais que I'admiral 
G-audisse mon pere, pource qu'il ne croit en nostre seigneur 
Jhesu Christ." Her hatred, indeed, had risen to so high a 
pitch, that she insisted on her father being murdered in his 
sleep. — "A I'heure de minuit Je vous meneray en la 
chambre de mon pere ; vous le trouverez dormant, puis in- 
continent le occirez : Et quant est a moy, Je vueil bien 
estre la jDremiere qui le premier coup luy baillera." These 
plans are aided by the invasion of Agrapard, the brother 
of Angoulaffre, who enters the capital at the head of a for- 
midable army, reproaches the emir (most unreasonably one 
should think) for not having avenged the death of that 
giant, and suggests the alternative of paying a triple tribute 
or denuding himself of his kingdom. 

The emir could find no person at his court who would 
encounter this champion. After cursing his gods at con- 
siderable length, and to no purjDose, Esclarmonde embraces 
this favourable opportunity to confess that Huon is still in 
existence. The knight is accordingly brought forth from 
his dungeon, and the emir promises that if he vanquish 
Agrapard, he will not only allow his beard to be plucked, 
but will patiently submit to a partial extraction of his 

Huon, having overcome the giant, proposes to Gaudisse, 
that, in lieu of the despoliation of his beard and grinders, 
he should consent to be baptized. This alteration in the 
agreement not being relished by the emir, he orders Huon 
to be seized, who, trusting that his long sufferings had now 
appeased Oberon, sounds the horn with the requisite vehe- 
mence. The surmise of the knight is justified by the 
event : the fairy king appears with a formidable army, and 
the head of the emir is struck off by an invisible hand. 


The beard and teeth thus become an easy prey to the con- 
queror, and are sewed up by Oberon in the side of 
Gerasmes, who was in attendance. Huon loads two vessels 
with the treasures of the emir, and sails for Italy with 
Esclarmonde, after being threatened by Oberon with the 
severest punishments, if he should anticij^ate the delights 
of matrimony previous to the fulfilment of its graver 

In most romances, when a superior being receives a 
mortal into favour, some test of obedience is required. 
This is usually violated, and the consequent misfortunes 
form a series of endless incidents. As to Huon, he seems 
never to have received any injunction from Oberon, without 
acting in direct opposition to it. Gerasmes, foreseeing the 
fate of the lovers, sets sail for France in one of the ships, 
carrying in his side the precious deposit of beard and 
grinders. Scarcely had he left the vessel in which Huon 
and Esclarmonde are conveyed, when their conduct gives 
rise to a tempest ^ more boisterous than the description of 
the yoimgest poet. The ship goes to pieces on a desert 
island, where the lovers wander about for some time, and 
renew the offence that had given rise to the late hurricane ; 
but, though on shore, they are not permitted to violate the 
injunctions of Oberon with impunity. A band of corsairs 
arriving on the island, one of their number, who had been 
a subject of the emir Gaudisse, immediately recognizes 
Esclarmonde. These pirates leave Huon in the island, 
bound to a tree, and, in hopes of a great recompense, sail 
with the princess for the capital of Yvoirin, emir of Mont- 
brant, and uncle of Esclarmonde. Though Huon was not 
in the vessel, a tempest drives it to the coast of Anfalerne. 
The captain having entered one of the ports of that king- 

^ Cf. the foJlowing passage in Hector Boethius : — " Navicularius tan- 
tam tamque insulitam aeris inclementiam, eo temix>ris demiratus (subei-at 
enim solstitium wstivum) quum id non sideri sed malorum dajmonum, 
qui hominibus semper sunt infesti, insidiis magnis ti-ibueret clamoribus : 
reddita est vox ex ima navi mulieris se misere incusantis, quod incubo 
humana sub eflSgie, qui cum per multos anteactos annos habuisset con- 
suetudinem, iam tunc fuisset comraixta et ab eo subacta : marl ergo 
celerius se tradendam, ut ipsa pereunte, qure tanti mali imminentis 
causam praestitisset," etc. — Scotorum Historiee, lib. viii. p. 149, ed. 
Paris, 1575. 


dom, Galafre, the ruler of the country, comes on board, 
and on their refusal to deliver up the princess, puts the 
whole crew to death, with the exception of one pirate, who 
escapes to Montbrant. Esclarmonde is conducted to the 
seraglio, and informed that she must prepare to accept the 
hand of her new master ; but she pretends that she had 
lately made a vow of chastity for two years, which the 
emir promises to respect. 

Oberon, meanwhile, being touched with pity for the 
misfortunes of Huon, permits Malebron, one of his spirits, 
to go to his assistance. This emissary, taking Huon on 
his back, lands him in the territory of King Yvoirin. As 
the mercy of the fairy king had not extended so far as to 
provide the delinquent with victuals or raiment, he wanders 
naked through the country in quest of provisions. In a 
meadow he falls in with an old man eating heartily, who 
had formerly been a minstrel at the court of Gaudisse, and 
engages Huon to carry his harp and his wallet for food 
and clothing. On the same evening they arrive at the court 
of Yvoirin. The minstrel performs in such a manner as 
to obtain rewards from all the courtiers : his attendant also 
attracts much notice, and by command of Yvoirin, plays 
at chess with his daughter, on conditions which show that 
this emir possessed the greatest confidence in the skill of 
the princess, or had very little regard to the honour of his 
family. The lady, who fell in love with Huon during the 
game, purposely allows herself to be checkmated. But 
the knight being resolved to preserve his fidelity to Esclar- 
monde, commutes the stake he had gained for a sum of 
money, — " Et la pucelle sen alia moult dolente et cour- 
roucee, et dist en elle mesme ; ha maulvais cueur, failly 
de Mahom, soys confondu, car si J'eusse seen que autre 
chose n'eusses voulu faire, Je te eusse matte, si en eusses 
eu le chief tranche." 

Yvoirin, long before this time, had been informed of 
the detention of his niece by Galafre. He had accordingly 
sent to demand the restitution of Esclarmonde, which 
being refused, hostilities had commenced between these 
neighbouring sultans. The day after the arrival of Huon 
at the court of Yvoirin had been fixed for an invasion of 
the enemy's territories. Huon having learned the cause 


of the war, feels every motive for exertion : he procures 
some rusty arms, moiuits an old hackney, and, though 
thus accoutred, his valour chiefly contributes to the defeat 
of G-alafre. 

A new resource, however, presents itself to the van- 
quished monarch. It will be recollected that Gerasmes 
had left Huon at a most momentous crisis, and the lover 
had rendered himself culpable so soon after the departure 
of his friend, that the ship in which Gerasmes was em- 
barked, had experienced the full force of the tempest which 
wrecked the vessel of Huon and Esclarmonde. He had, in 
consequence, been driven out of his course, and, after being 
long tempest-tossed, had sought shelter in the port of An- 
faleme. To Gerasmes the king communicates the situation 
of his affairs, and proposes that he should defy a cham- 
pion of the army of Yvoirin. Gerasmes having consented 
to this, goes out from Anfalerne with a few Christian 
friends, and, in a short time, finds himseK engaged with 
Huon of Bordeaux. Having recognized each other in the 
course of the combat, Gerasmes, with great presence of 
mind, proposes that they should unite their arms, and de- 
feat the miscreants. The small band of Christians makes 
a prodigious slaughter in the Saracen army, and push- 
ing on at full speed, gets possession of the caj^ital of 

That prince, who seems to have been no less remarkable 
for rapidity of conception than the Christians, joins the 
remains of his forces to those of Yvoirin, and begs him to 
lead them on against Huon, to recover his capital. Galafre 
is as unsuccessful in the coalition as he was singly. The 
allied army is totally repulsed in an attack upon the city, 
and Esclarmonde being now delivered from her captivity 
in the seraglio, the Christians possess themselves of the 
treasure of Galafre, and embark on board a vessel in 
which the mayor of Bordeaux, with more good fortune 
than probability, had arrived during the siege. Huon is 
landed safe in Italy, and is formally imited to Esclarmonde 
at E/Ome : but, on his road to the court of Charlemagne, 
he is waylaid by his brother Girard, who had possessed 
himself of his dukedom, and was ruling over it with un- 
exampled tyranny. Tlie usurper pays his brother an appa- 


rently kind visit at the abbey of St. Maurice, wbere lie 
lodged a few days on bis journey to Paris. Having learned 
from Huon the secret of the treasure contained in the side 
of Gerasmes, he attacks the bearer on his way from the 
monastery, opens his side, takes out the beard and grinders, 
and sends him along with his master and Esclarmonde in 
chains to Bordeaux. The traitor then proceeds to Paris, 
informs Charlemagne that his brother has not accom- 
plished the object of his mission, and asks a gift of his 
dukedom. Charlemagne repairs to Bordeaux, where Huon 
is tried by the peers, and after much deliberation he is 
finally condemned by the voice of the emperor. Huon and 
Gerasmes are sentenced to be drawn and quartered, and 
Esclarmonde to be led to the stake. Charlemagne defers 
the execution till midday, that while seated at dinner he 
may feast his eyes with the punishment of the destroyer 
of his son. The spectacle is about to commence, when 
suddenly the gates of the hall in which the emperor was 
seated are seized by a formidable army. A splendid table 
is prepared, and elevated above the sovereign's. Oberon 
enters the hall to the sound of trumpets and cymbals. 
The chains drop from the prisoners, and they are arrayed 
in splendid vestments. Oberon reproaches Charlemagne 
with injustice, and threatens him with the disclosure of 
his most secret crimes. He concludes with producing the 
spoils of the emir, and delivering up Girard to the punish- 
ment that had been destined for Huon. The fairy then 
retires with the same solemnity with which he had entered, 
after inviting Huon and Esclarmonde to pay him their 
respects in his enchanted dominions. 

The story of Huon of Bordeaux is here completely 
finished, but there is a long continuation, which seems to 
be by a different hand, and is apparently of a much later 
date than the work of which an abstract has been given. 
In the original romance, Huon begins his exploits by slay- 
ing the son of Charlemagne. He recommences his career 
in this second production by cutting off the head of the 
son of Thiery, emperor of Germany. That monarch in 
revenge carries war into the states of Guienne. Huon de- 
fends himself successfully for some time, but at length 
sets out for the east, to beg assistance from the brother of 


Esclarmonde, to whom, though he had slain his father and 
seduced his sister, he thought himself entitled to apply. 

During his absence Bourdeaux is taken, Gerasmes killed, 
and Eschirmonde conducted captive to the German court, 
where she is persecuted with love propositions by the em- 

While on his voyage to Asia, Huon experiences a tremen- 
dous storm. When the tempest has abated, the vessel is 
carried away by a rapid and irresistible current, which 
draws it into a dangerous whirlpool. Huon perceiving a 
man swimming in the midst of the waters, and hearing him 
utter deep lamentations, orders the seamen to slack sails in 
order to gratify his curiosity. The swimmer proclaims him- 
self to be Judas Iscariot, and declares that he was doomed 
to be tossed in this gulf to all eternity, with no protection 
from the fury of the elements but a small piece of cloth, 
which, while on earth, he had bestowed in charity.^ Judas 
also recommends to Huon to use every exertion to get out 
of the whirlpool. At his suggestion, all the sails being 
set, the vessel is carried before a favourable wind, and the 
master of the vessel makes for a distant shore, on which be 
descries what appears to him a small house, surrounded by 
a wood. After four days' sail these objects prove to be a 
palace of miraculous magnitude and splendour, and the 
masts of innumerable vessels which had been wrecked on 
the rock of adamant on which this magnificent structure 
was situated.'^ The pilot having now no longer power over 
the helm, the ship strikes on the rock, to which it was irre- 

^ St. Brandan in the course of his travels likewise comes across Judas 
Iscariot suffering tortures upon a rock in the open sea.— Lieb. Cf. 
also the expiation in the Gregory legend, see infra. 

- The fable of the loadstone island, familiar to our youth in the story 
of Sinbad and the old man of the sea, was widely diffused both in the 
east and west, but more especially as it would appear in China. See 
Mandeville's "Travels," ed. 1839, pp. 318, 163, and ch. 15 and 27. 
Also Felicis Fabri Evagatorium, ii. 469, published by the Stuttgard 
Literarischer Verein. See also Von Hagen and Biisching, Deutsche 
Gedichte des Mittelaltcrs, Bd. i., note 49 to Hcrzog Ei-nst, p. xii., and 
the Altdeutsches Museum, i. p. 298, etc. Graesse, p. 339, remarks upon 
the above works as well as upon verse 4505, etc., of the Gudrunlied, 
also on verse 1727 of Gott Amur (der Werden Minne lere, published by 
the Stuttgard Literarischer Verein, v. 263, etc.). Cf. also Konrad von 
Wiirzburg's Goldene Schmiede, verse 139, etc. — Lieb. 
I. X 


sistibly attracted. Huon alone gets safe on shore, and 
after wandering for some time among tremendous pre- 
cipices and sterile valleys, lie climbs to the enchanted palace, 
which is beautifully described.^ Here he enjoys no society 
for a long while but that of a hideous serpent, which he 
has the pleasure of despatching ; but at length, in a remote 
apartment, he discovers five fairies performing the office of 
pastry cooks, who explain to him that this building had 
been constructed by the Lady of the Hidden Isle to pro- 
tect her lover Julius Caesar from the fury of three kings of 
Egypt, whose vessels, while in pursuit, had struck on the 
rock of adamant, and from whose treasures the palace had 
been so splendidly furnished. After a long stay in this 
island Huon is at length carried off by a griffin,^ which oc- 
casionally haunted the shore ; and at the end of a long 
aerial voyage, is set down on the top of a high mountain, 
which seems to have been a place of rendezvous for these 
animals. Our hero kills four of their number, which was 
rather an ungrateful return for the safe conduct which he 
had received from their fellow-monster. Soon after his 
arrival on this spot he discovers the Fountain of Youth, in 
which he has no sooner bathed than he feels recruited from 
the effects of his late perils and labours, and recovers his 
pristine vigour. This fiction of the fountain of youth has 
been almost as universal as the desire of health and lon- 
gevity. There is a fountain of this nature in the Greek 
romance of Ismene and Ismenias,^ in the German Book 
of Heroes, and the French Fabliau of Coquaigne, — 

La Fontaine de Jovent 

Qui fit rajovenir le gent, 

» See Appendix, No. 1 1 . 

2 See De Gubernatis, Zoological Mythology, supra, p. 120. Cf. Sin- 
bad's second voyage, Duke Ernest of Bavaria (published in Simrocks, 
Volksbiicher, Bd. iii.), verses 3359, etc. ,the Somadheva Stories, chap, xii., 
the Story of Rupinika, and chap, xxvi., the Story of Saktivega. — Lieb. 

^ F. W. Y. Schmidt, in his notes to his selection of Tales from Stra- 
parola, Berlin, 1817, p. 276, etc., gives account of similar rejuvenating 
springs and apples. Cf. also the Swedish story of the Land of Youth, 
in Old Norse Fairy Tales, translated by Arlberg. Delrius (Disquisi- 
tionum Magicarum, lib. sex, lib. ii. p. 241, ed. 1657) mentions two 
springs credited with similar virtues in the New World. The belief in 
healing waters is common among the Slavonians. 


By the margin of this fountain, in which Huon had im- 
mersed himself, grew a tree, of which the apples partook 
of the resuscitating properties of the waters by which its 
roots were nourished. Huon is permitted by a celestial 
voice to gather three of these apples, and is also directed to 
the path by which he is to proceed. Having therefore de- 
scended the hill, he reaches the banks of a river, and em- 
barks in a pinnace decked with gold and precious stones. 
This boat is carried down a stream with surprising velocity, 
and enters a subterraneous canal ^ lighted by the radiance 
of gems,' which formed the channel of the water, and of 
which Huon gathers a handful. The roar of the waves and 
tempest above is distinctly heard, but after a few days' 
voyage the bark emerges into a tranquil sea, which he re- 
cognizes to be the Persian Gulf. He lands in safety at the 
port of Tauris, where a skilful lapidary having inspected 
the precious stones which he had picked up during his sub- 
terraneous voyage, declares that one preserved from fire 
and poison, a second cured all diseases, a third rej^ressed 
hunger and thirst, and a fourth rendered the wearer in- 
visible. The possession of these very valuable articles pro- 
cures for Huon a favourable reception from the old sultan 
of that district, on whom our hero bestows one of the 
apples of youth, which he had no sooner tasted than he re- 
ceives the strength and appearance of a man of thirty. 
From motives of gratitude the sultan permits himseK to 
be baptized, and places a fleet and army under the com- 
mand of Huon, with which he now proceeds to the assis- 
tance of Esclarmonde. On his way he lands at the desert 
island of Abillant in quest of adventures, and his fleet 
being instantly dispersed by a storm, he is forced to remain. 
After wandering about for some time he ascends a moun- 
tain, whose summit formed a plain, round which a cask was 
roUing with wonderful noise and velocity. Huon arrests 
its progress with a hammer, and the inhabitant proclaims 
himself to be Cain, adding, that the cask is full of seq^ents 

' Cf. the subterraneous voyages in Sinbad's sixth voyage, in the 
Arabian Nights, Herzog Ernst, verse 3554, etc., Vohaire's '^ Candide," 
eh. 17, etc., Tasso's '' Gerusalerame Liberata," xiv. 32. — Lieb. See 
infra, p. 310. 

- Luminous stones. See index. 


and sliarp spikes, and that lie is doomed to roll in it till 
the day of judgment. The knight accordingly refuses to 
interfere in his punishment, and leaves him to prosecute 
his career in this uncomfortable conveyance. 

In the course of his conversation with Cain, Huon was 
informed that a demon, who had been the contractor for 
this machine, was waiting for the fratricide in a boat near 
the shore. Availing himself of this hint he proceeds to 
the beach, and the evil spirit mistaking him for Cam, whom 
he personates, receives him into the bark and lands him on 
the opposite coast, — a contrivance which shows that the 
knight had not altogether forgotten the practices by which, 
in his youth, he gained admission to the hall of the emir of 
Babylon, and by which he first forfeited the favour of 
Oberon. In the present instance, however, his departure 
from truth is not followed by any punishment or disaster : 
on the contrary, he rejoins his fleet on the coast to which 
he had been transported by the fiend, and thence sets sail 
for France. 

Huon does not seem to have been in any great haste to 
bring assistance to Esclarmonde. He visits Jerusalem on 
his way, and enters most gratuitously into a war with the 
sultan of Egypt. 

On arriving at Marseilles he dismisses the Asiatic fleet, 
and proceeds to pay a visit to his uncle, the abbot of 
Clugny, whom he presents with one of the apples of youth. 
In the habit of a pilgrim he next comes to the court of 
Thierry, emperor of Grermany, who at length agrees to re- 
store his wife, and receives the third apple as his reward. 
Huon and Esclarmonde pay a short visit to their dominions, 
and then set out, according to invitation, for the enchanted 
forest of Oberon, who installs his favourite knight in the 
empire of Faery, and expires shortly after. The remainder 
of the romance, or rather fairy tale, contains an account of 
the reign of Huon, and his disputes with Arthur (who had 
hoped for the appointment) as to the sovereignty of Fairy- 
land; and also the adventm-es of the Duchess Clairette, 
the daughter of Huon and Esclarmonde, from whom was 
descended the illustrious family of Capet. ^ 

^ Various contimiations and extensions of Huon exist, which have been 
published by Professor Graf from a fourteenth century MS. at Turin (I 


There are few romances of chivalry which possess more 
beauty and interest than Huon of Bourdeaiix ; — the story, 
liowever, is too long protracted, and the first part seems to 
have exhausted the author's stores of imagination. Huon 
is a more interesting character than most of the knights of 
Charlemagne. Even his weakness and disobedience of 
Oberon arise from excess of love or the ardour of military 
enterprise; and our prepossession in his favour is much 
enhanced by a mildness of nature and tenderness of heart, 
superior to that of other heroes of chivalry. The subordi- 
nate characters in the work are also happily drawn : no- 
thing can be better represented than the honest fidelity and 
zeal of Gerasmes, the struggles in the breast of the mother 
of Huon between maternal tenderness and devoted loyalty 
to Charlemagne, and the mixed character of that monarch, 
in which equity and moderation predominate, but are ever 
warped by an excess of blind paternal affection. 

The early part of the romance of Huon bears a striking 
resemblance to the adventures of Otnit, king of Lombardy,^ 

complimenti della Chanson d'Huon, etc., Halle, 1878). Numbers of 
!MSS. of the metrical romance in various forms and languages remain to 
prove its extensive popularity, while ver^- numerous editions in the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries attest the wide dissemination of the 
prose work founded on them. It was dramatized for representation by 
tlie Fraternity of the Passion and Resurrection during the Christmas-tide 
of 1557, but was permitted only on condition that it should be performed 
when no church services were taking place, and " without scandal." 
The strictly religious character of the French drama of the period made 
the work, no doubt, appear in the light of a profane innovation. An 
English translation by Lord Berners, who follows the French text of 
1530 with great fidelity, was published probably between 1530 and 1540. 
The only copy known belongs to Lord Crawford and Balcarres. At 
least two other editions appear to have been published. The text of 
Lord Berners has been reprinted for the Early English Text Society, 
with an admirable notice of the work prefixed, by JS. L. Lee, to which 
the reader is referred, and to which I am mainly indebted for the fore- 
going remarks. Further information will be found in Guessard's "' Les 
Anciens Poetes Francais," pt. 5 ; Leon Gautier's " Epopees Fran- 
caises ; " Gaston Paris, in the Revue Germaniciue, xvi. p. 350-90. and 
notices in vols, iii., vii., and viii. of the Romania. Mr. Lee (in his intro- 
duction to Huon, pp. xlvii.-liii.), gives an interesting though brief account 
of "Oberon in English Literature." 

' See Romania, iii. p. 494. A. Kirpichnikof, Opyt cravnitelnavo 
izouchenia zapadnavo i rousskavo eposa. Poemy Lombardskavo tsikla. 
Moscow, 1873. 


related near the commencement of that celebrated produc- 
tion, the Teutonic metrical romance of The Book of Heroes 
(ascribed to Wolfram von Eschenbach and Heinrich von 
Ofterdingen), written early in the thirteenth century, and 
of which an entertaining analysis has been given in the 
ninstrations of Northern Antiquities.^ Otnit, we are told, 
before setting out for Syria in order to gain the hand of its 
princess, met the dwarf Elberich, who was clothed in ar- 
mour dighted with gold and diamonds. This dwarf pre- 
sented Otnit with various gifts which possessed a magic 
power, and which prove of infinite service on his arrival in 
Syria. Elberich afterwards gave him personal assistance 
in his contest with the heathen father of his destined mis- 
tress ; and on one occasion, having rendered himself in- 
visible, he tore a handful of hair from the beard of the 
pagan, and pulled out several of the teeth of his queen. 
The princess becomes enamoured of the knight, and is at 
last willingly delivered into his hands by the dwarf, who 
warns him, however, not to be guilty of any amorous indis- 
cretions till his bride should be baptized.^ 

Some analogy also subsists between the second part of 
Huon and the second and sixth voyages of Sindbad ; but 
its resemblance to the voyages of Aboulfaouaris, in the 
Persian Tales, is much more striking. Judas swimming in 
the gulf corresponds with the story of the man whom the 
Persian adventurer fished up on his first voyage, and who 
had whirled about for three years, as a penance, in the sea 
near Java. This renowned mariner also escapes from an 
island, on which he had been wi'ecked, by a subterraneous 
passage which the sea had formed through one of its 
mountains ; and by the assistance of a neighbouring king 
he is enabled to succour his wife, of whose danger he had 
been apprised in a dream. The story of Cain and the at- 
tendant fiend in Huon is the model or imitation of the 
Brazen Island, to which the ship of Aboulfaouaris is car- 
ried by an irresistible current, and in which he beholds the 

^ Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, from the earlier Teutonic and 
Scandinavian romances, being an Abstract of the Book of Heroes, and 
Nibelungen Lay, etc. Edinburgh, 1814, 4to. It has been suggested that 
Otnit is a corrupted form of Odenatus, assassinated at Emesa in 267. 

2 See Keightly's " Fairy Mythology, ' p. 206. 


punishment of the Afrite or Rebel Genius. Indeed the 
works of eastern fable are full of traditions concerning the 
punishments of Cain, one of which, it is somewhere said, 
was, that he could not be killed by spikes piercing his 
body. The author of the Arabic Catena, a collection of 
oriental commentaries on scripture, makes him proof against 
all the elements ; a sword could not hurt him, fire could 
not burn, water could not drown, nor lightning strike him 
(c. 8), a curse resembling that which was imposed by 

The next romance relating to knights, contemporary with 
Charlemagne, is that of 


" A Tissue de I'yver que le joly temps d'este commence, et 
qu'on voit les arbres florir et leurs fleurs espanyr, les oysil- 
lons chanter en toute joye et doulceur tant que leurs tons 
et doulx chants retentissent si melodieusement que toute 
joye et lyesse est de les escouter et ouyr ; tant que cueurs 
tristes pensifs et dolens s'en esjouissent et esmeuvent a de- 
laisser dueil et toute tristesse, et se perforcent de valoir 
mieux — en celuy temps estoit a Montglave le noble Due 
Guerin qui tant fut en son temps preux et vaillant cheva- 
lier." This Guerin, who was brother of the duke of 
Aquitaine, and ruled in Montglave (Lyons), a city he had 
acquired by his own prowess, had four sons. After re- 
proaching them at a high festival for indolence and 
gluttony, he dismisses them from his palace in order to 
push their fortunes in the world. Arnaud, the eldest, is 
sent to his uncle Girard, duke of Aquitaine ; Millon, the 
second, proceeds to Pavia, and Girard and Regnier to the 
court of Charlemagne. The romance contains the separate 
adventures of the four knights, of which those of Arnaud 
alone are in any degree interesting. 

' Histoire du tres preux et vaillant Guerin de Montglave, lequel fit 
en son temps plusieurs nobles et illustres faits en armes ; et aussi parle 
dcs terribles & merueilleux faictz de Robastre & Ferdigon pour secourir 
le diet Guerin et ses enfans. — A. Lotrian, Paris, no date, 4to. For 
critical account, full bibliography, analysis, and genealogical table of this 
romance, sec Gautier's " Epopees Fran9aises," 2nd ed., Paris, 1883, vol. ii. 
p. 126, etc. The earliest edition is of 1518. 


Arnaud on liis arrival at tlie capital of Aquitaine finds 
tliat Girard was dead, and tliat Hunault, liis natural 
brother, had seized on the dukedom ; but, though attended 
only by a single squire, so completely was the usurper 
detested, that the principal inhabitants immediately invest 
Arnaud with the sovereignty. Hunault, unable openly to 
withstand this general disaffection, has recourse to strata- 
gem. He pretends that he had only meant to preserve 
the dukedom for his brother, gradually insinuates himself 
into the confidence of Arnaud, and becomes his chief 
adviser. In a short while he proposes to him an union 
with the Saracen princess Fregonda, the daughter of a 
sultan, called Florant, who reigned in Lombardy ; and 
farther, persuades him to pay a visit to the court of that 
monarch. Hoping to obtain a beautiful princess, and 
convert an infidel, Arnaud sets out for Lombardy, accom- 
panied by Hunault, who had previously informed the sultan 
that his brother was coming to solicit his daughter in 
marriage, and to abjure the Christian religion. The 
sultan and Arnaud are thus put at cross purposes. The 
former leaves the work of conversion to his daughter, but 
this princess had no sooner begun to love Arnaud, than 
she found that she could not endure Mahomet. Hunault 
is informed of the sentiments of the princess by his brother 
Arnaud, and immediately acquaints the sultan. In com- 
municating this intelligence, he proposes that Arnaud 
should be confined in a dungeon, and at the same time 
offers on his own part to assume the turban, should 
Florant agree to assist him in recovering possession of 
Aquitaine. These proposals being accepted, Arnaud is 
thrown into confinement, and Hunault sets out by a 
retired road for the duchy. On his way he is suddenly 
seized with remorse for his apostacy and treason. Hearing 
a clock strike while in the midst of a forest, he turns 
towards the place whence the sound j^roceeded, and arrives 
at the gate of a hermitage, which is opened by a giant of 
horrible aspect. This singular recluse was Robastre, who 
had been the companion in arms of Guerin of Moutglave, 
and had retired to this forest to perform penance. Hunault 
insists on confessing his sins, and the catalogue being 
finished, Robastre immediately knocks out his brains. The 


ground of this commentary on the confession is, that he 
would thus die penitent ; l)ut that if he lived, he would 
infallibly relapse into iniquity ; a train of reasoning 
certainly more gigantic than theological. 

Kohastre next turns his attention to the best means of 
delivering Arnaud from prison. He first goes to consult 
with Perdigon, who had been formerly a companion of 
Guerin, and was once tolerably versed in the black art, 
but had for some time renounced all his evil practices, and 
retired to a cell in the same forest with Robastre. This 
enchanter is at first scrupulous about renewing his inter- 
course with the devil, but at length satisfies his conscience 
on the score of good intentions. 

The giant arms himself with an old cuirass, which was 
bui'ied below his hermitage, and throwing over it a robe, 
gains admittance to the court of the sultan Florant in the 
character of a mendicant dervis. He soon obtains a 
private interview with the princess, and introduces himself 
as a Christian, and the friend of Arnaud. In return he is 
informed by her that she pays frequent visits in secret to 
Arnaud, to whom she promises to procure him access. 
With this view she acquaints her father that Eobastre is 
the most learned Mollah she had ever conversed with, and 
that if admitted to the j^risoner he could not fail to con- 
vert him. Eobastre is thus introduced into the dungeon, 
and privately concerts with Arnaud the means of escape. 
In the course of the ensuing night the princess arrives 
with provisions, with which the Mahometan ladies in 
romance are always careful abundantly to supply their 
lovers. Eobastre taking a goblet of water, baj^tizes the 
princess, and unites her to Arnaud. Having then knocked 
out the brains of the jailer, he breaks open the trap-door 
of the prison, and thus gets possession of the tower, of 
which the dungeon formed the foundation. 

Arnaud escapes to Aquitaine, that he may assert his 
sovereignty, and afterwards return to the assistance of 
Eobastre and the princess, who remain together in the 
tower. In that hold they are besieged by the sultan and 
his forces, but Eobastre makes different sorties, in which 
he is always successful, being aided by the enchantments 
of his friend Perdigon, who at one time pelts the Saracens 


with incessant hail, and at others cuts them up by means 
of fantastic knights in black armour. Robastre, availing 
himself of the confusion into which the Saracens were 
thrown by one of these attacks, escapes with the princess, 
and arrives safe in Aquitaine. Here they have the morti- 
fication to find that Arnaud had been imprisoned by the 
maternal uncles of Hunault. They are vanquished, how- 
ever, in single combat by Robastre. Arnaud is then 
restored to his dukedom, and soon after succeeds to the 
Lombard principality, by the conversion and abdication of 
his father-in-law. His subjects also become Christians, 
for in those days they implicitly conformed to the religion 
of their prince, instead of forcing him to adopt the faith 
of his people. 

During these interesting transactions, Millon, the second 
son of Guerin of Montglave, had married his cousin, the 
daughter and heiress of the duke of Pavia. Eegnier had 
been united to the duchess of G-enoa, after defeating a 
ponderous giant, who was an unwelcome suitor, and Girard 
had espoused the countess of Thoulouse by the interest of 
Charlemagne, who conceived himself obliged to provide for 
the children of Guerin of Montglave, as he had, on one 
occasion, lost his whole kingdom to him at a game of 

To these provisions, however, there seems to have been 
no end, for Aimery, Arnaud' s son, having grown up, came 
to demand a settlement on the plea of the game at chess. 
During one of his audiences, at which the queen was pre- 
sent, he seizes her majesty by the foot and overthrows her. 
Charlemagne thinks it necessary to avenge this insult by 
besieging Viennes, the capital of Girard's territories, who 
is assisted in his defence by his three brothers and Robastre. 
After a good deal of general and promiscuous fighting, it 
is agreed that the quarrel should be decided by single 
combat. Roland is chosen on the part of Charlemagne, 
and Olivier, son of Regnier, duke of Genoa, on the side of 
Girard.^ These two champions had become acquainted 
during a truce, and recognizing each other in the heat of 
combat, they drop their arms and embrace with much 

^ See Appendix, No. 12. 


cordiality. By their means a reconciliation is effected, and 
the paladins of France resolved to turn their united arms 
against the Saracens. 

During the combat with Olivier, Roland had been at one 
time in imminent danger, and Charlemagne had vowed a 
pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The account of that expedition 
is detailed in the commencement of the romance of 


which was first printed at Paris in the year 1500. In that 
work Charlemagne and his paladins, among whom was 
Olivier, son of the duke of Genoa, proceed incognito to 
Jerusalem. Having betrayed themselves at that place 
by their eagerness in search of relics, the patriarch of 
Jerusalem considers it indispensable that they should pay a 
visit of ceremony to King Hugues. They find this monarch 
encamped on a vast plain with his grandees, who jvere 
all neat-herds or drovers, and his majesty a waggoner. 
Roland looked into court, where he counted 100,000 hogs, 
who were feeding on wheat. The paladins inquired if there 
was lodging for them, and were told by the porter that he 
had room for four thousand. On the day of their arrival 
the French peers were very kindly entertained at table, 
but, notwithstanding the amj^le accommodation, they were 
lodged in the same aj^artment at night. King Hugues, 
though a very good man, was extremely curious to learn 
what strangers said of his hospitality, and accordingly 
concealed an interpreter in a comer of the chamber allotted 
to his guests. The peers being unable to sleep, began to 
brag (gaber).~ Roland boasted that he could sound his 
horn with such force that it would bring down the palace : 
Ogier le Danois averred that he would crumble to dust one 
of the chief pillars of the edifice : the boasts of Olivier, the 
youngest of the peers, related to the beautiful Princess 

^ . . . . le romant de Galyen Rethore aucc les batailles faictes a 
ronceualx par la trahison de Gannes per de France auec sa miserable 
execution faicte de par lempcreur Charlemaigne .... A. Verard, 
Paris, 1520. Other editions at Paris, Lyon, Troj^es. 

^ For an account of this word, see Menagiana, iii. p. 96, and Graesse, 


Jacquelina, tlie daugliter of Hugues. The king is informed 
of this conversation before retiring to rest, and being much 
disajDpointed at hearing nothing but improbable lies, 
instead of the expected praises of his hospitality, he treats 
his guests with much less civility, next morning, than he 
had formerly used. Having learned the cause of his re- 
sentment, the paladins deputed Orlando to acquaint him 
that their boasts were mere pleasantries.^ King Hugues, 
however, informs him that he thought they were in very 
bad taste, and that the paladins must consent to remain 
his prisoners, or perform what they had undertaken. No- 
thing but a very bitter aversion to liars could have driven 
the good king to this hasty measure, since he was obliged 
in its execution to expose the honour of his family in a 
very delicate point. The French peers accept the latter 
alternative proposed to them ; and from the fulfilment of 
the boast of Olivier, sprung G-alyen, the hero of the ro- 
mance, surnamed Rhetore, or Restaure, by the fairy who 
presided at his birth, because by his means there was to 
be revived in France the high sj^irit of chivalry, which was 
in danger of being lost by the death of the paladins, who 
perished at Roncesvalles. 

This young prince having grown up, set out for Europe 
in quest of his father. Having arrived at G-enoa, he 
learned that Charlemagne and his peers were engaged in 
an expedition against the Saracens of Spain. To Spain he 
accordingly directed his course, but met with many adven- 
tures, and performed a variety of exploits, before reaching 
the camjD of Charlemagne. Thence he departed for a divi- 
sion of the army, in which he understood his father was 
brigaded. He arrived after the defeat of Eoncesvalles, and 
was only recognized by Olivier in his expiring moments.^ 
Galyen having performed the last duties to his father, was 
of great service in the subsequent war with Marsilius, and 
also detected the treason, and insisted on the punishment, 
of Gano (or Ganellon) ; the account of which nearly corre- 

* The gabs are analyzed in the Menagiana, 1715, p. 110. These 
famous gabs are first met with in a romance of the twelfth century, pub- 
lished by J. Michel, from a MSS. in the Brit. Mus., 12mo., London, 1 
1836. Madden. 

^ See Appendix, No. 13. 



Spends with the detail in the chronicle of Turpin. He was 
soon, however, obliged to depart on hearing of the death 
of Hugues, and the usurpation of the crown by the brothers 
of that prince ; he vanquislies them in single combat, 
rescues his mother, whom they had condemned to death, 
and afterwards, in her right, ascends the throne. 

The two following romances are believed to have been 
written in the beginning of the fifteenth century, but the 
first edition of both is without date. In the j^rologue to 


which shall be first mentioned, the work is said to be ex- 
tracted from ancient chronicles. " J'ay voulu extraire leurs 
faicts et gestes, et les fortunes a eux advenues ainsi comme 
Je les ay trouvees en histoires anciennes jadis trouvees et 
enregistrt'es en plusieurs livres faisaut mention d'eux par 
maniere de croniques," and in the 58th chapter, " il est 
assavoir que ceste hystoire icy a este extraicte de I'une des 
trois gestes du royaume de France, et ne furent que trois 
gestes au dit j)ays qui ont eu honneur et renomme, dequoy 
le premier a este Doolin de Mayence, 1' autre Guerin, la 
tierce si a este de Pepin dequoy est issu le Eoy Charle- 
magne." This detail about the ancient histories, and the 
three Gestes, is probably feigned to give the stamp of 
authority. Milles and Amys, however, are mentioned in 
the Chronicle of Albericus TriumFontium [Leibnitz, Access. 
histor. ii. s. 1, p. 108], but it is also related in the earlier 
metrical Ogier le Danois of Raimbert de Paris (v. 5884, &c.), 
an author of the thirteenth century, who says they perished 
in the year 774, in an expedition undertaken by Charle- 
magne against Didier, king of the Lombards. Their story 
is besides related in the Sjiteculum Historiale of Vincent de 
Beauvais [xxiii. c. 162], and is there said to have occurred 
in the reign of Pepin. The early part of the romance, 
particularly that which relates to the leprosy of Amys, and 
his cure by sacrifice of the children of Milles, is the subject 

' La tres ioyeuse plaisante & recreatiue hystoire dos faitz, gestes, 
triumplies & prouesses des .... vaillans chevaliers Milles et Amys, 
etc. The first edition, wit a title in verses, was published, according to 
Brunet; about 1503, by A. Verard at Paris. 


of the Englisli metrical Amys and Amylion, of whicli an 
account has been given by Mr. Ellis, in his Specimens of 
Metrical Eomances [iii. p. 396-432, ed. 1811].' 

Milles was the son of Anceaume, count of Clermont, and 
Amys of his seneschal. The former came into the world 
with the mark of a sword on his right hand, to the utter 

^ This story was one of the most renowned and widely diffused. 
Numerous versions of it are found, especially in poetry, in the different 
European countries from Italy to England and from Spain to Iceland. 
See Weber, Metrical Eomances, ii. pp. 369-473. The germ of it is 
found in the Seven Wise Masters. See Loiseleur Deslongchamps, 
Essai sur les Fables Indiennes, p. 163, 166. Conrad of Wiirtzburg 
translated it into German, calling the heroes Engelhard and Engeldrud. 
It furnished the subject for an Italian drama, and found its way to Ice- 
land (Saga bibliothek med Anmserkninger, etc., af. P. F. Mueller, 
Kioeb., 1820, iii. p. 480). Grimm's notes to Der arme Heinrich, p. 188, 
etc., 161; Keller, Li Eomans di Sept Sages, 1856, p. ccxxxvi., etc. ; 
Warton, History of English Poetry, etc. The text of the Celtic version 
from the Llyfr Coch o Hergest (fourteenth century), together with 
French translation, will be found in the Revue Celtique, Paris, 1880, t. 
iv. p. 201, etc. A new rhymed version of it, entitled the Dit des trois 
pommes, ed. by Trebutien, Paris, 1836, was made in the fourteenth 
century, at which time was also composed the Miracle de Nostre-dame 
d'Amis et d'Amille, edited by Mommerque and Michel, in the Theatre 
Fran^ais du Moyen Age, Like so many other poems it was reduced into 
prose in the fifteenth century. The legend is imitated in another 
romance, often printed, called Hystoire de Olivier de Castille et de 
Arthur d'Algarbe, son loyal compagnon. See Melanges tires d'une 
grande Bibliotheque, vol. i. p. 79, etc. At last it dwindled into a street 
ballad. Amis and Amiloun are there transformed into Alexander and 
Lodowick, princes of Hungary and France, the Steward into Guido, 
Prince of Spain, and the part of Duke is given to the Emperor of Ger- 
many. — Evans, Old Ballads, vol. i, p. 77. See F. Michel's concise 
notice of the story in the Theatre Frangais du Moyen Age, p. 216-218. 
Dr. C. Hofmann has a monograph on the legend : " Amis et Amiles 
und Jourdain de Blaives. Zwei Altfranz. Heldengedichte." Erlangen, 
1882. See also Kolbing (E.), Zur Ueberlieferung der Sage von Amicus 
und Amelius, in Paul and Braune's " Beitrage zur geschichte der 
deutschen Sprache u. Literatur," 1877, iv. p. 272, etc. See also Depping 
(Romancers, ii. 191), who connects the tale with different Spanish 
romances ; also J. W. Wolfs " Niederliindische Sagen," No. 38. Cf. 
an old Si)anish chronicle in F. Wolf, Ueber die Romanzen Poesie der 
Spanier, p. 2, and F. Wolf, Ueber eine Sammlung Spanischer Romanzen 
in fliegenden Blattern, etc., Wien, 1850, pp. 82, 181 ; also Ward's 
" Catalogue of Romances," i. pp. 674-680. See also Graesse, Lehrbuch, 
Bd. ii. abth. 3, p. 348 ; Wiener Jahrb., Bd. xxxi. p. 130, and Acta Sanc- 
torum, Octobris, tom. vi. p. 130-133. See also an article in the third 
vol. of the Romania. 


amazement of the pope, who held him at the baptismal 
font. His parents, in gratitude for his birth, set out on a 
pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The count was taken cap- 
tive by the sultan of Acre, and banished to an island 
which for forty years had been governed by a griffin. But 
instead of being devoured by this monster, as was in- 
tended, he contrived to despatch him by favour of St. 
George, who descended from heaven on horseback, clad in 
white armour bright as the sun [c. 7]. 

During the absence of Anceaume, however, the Count 
de Limoges seizes on Clermont. The nurse of Milles is in 
consequence forced to fly with her charge, and beg alms 
from province to province. Amys, son of the seneschal, 
is meanwhile brought up as a foundling by his uncle 
Eegnier of Langres, who durst not educate him as his 
nephew, being a vassal of the Duke of Burgundy, who was 
an ally of the Count de Limoges [c. 10]. 

Milles commences his career in chivalry by purloining 
his nurse's hoard, which she had amassed while flying 
with him from Clermont. With this treasure he repairs 
to the province of Burgundy, where he forms an intimate 
friendship with Amys, Their perfect resemblance in ap- 
pearance is the amusement of everyone, and gives rise to 
many comical mistakes [cc. 17, 47]. 

At length Milles being discovered to be the son of the 
rightful count of Clermont, is forced to leave Burgundy, 
and escapes with his friend Amys to Constantinople. Here 
Milles meets with his mother, the countess of Clermont, 
who had escaped from the power of the sultan of Acre, 
and was acting as governess to the Greek princess Sidoina. 
The city was at that time besieged by the sultan, but he 
is totally defeated, and the father of Milles, who was still 
detained prisoner by the Saracen monarch, is freed from 
captivity ; Milles marries Sidoina, and soon after ascends 
in her right the throne of Constantinoj^le [c. 29]. 

After some time spent in the cares of empire, Milles 
departs with Amys for France, recovers his paternal in- 
heritance, and bestows a dukedom on his friend. In his 
absence the Saracens burn his capital, his empress, and 
her mother ; and Milles, in consequence of this conflagra- 
tion, espouses Bellisande, daughter of Charlemagne, while 


Amys is united to Lubiane, the heiress of the duke of 
Friezeland [c. 43]. 

Some years having passed in unwonted repose, the 
friends at length set out on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 
When about to return, Amys is unexpectedly smitten with 
leprosy. On their arrival Milles is joyfully received by 
Bellisande ; but his unfortunate companion is driven from 
his own castle by his wife, who appears to have been 
ignorant of the value of a husband of this description.^ 
The servants whom she detaches to drown him, being 
moved with compassion, conduct their master to the castle 
of Milles, where he is received with the utmost hospitality 
[c. 53]. 

Soon after his arrival it is revealed to Amys in a dream, 
that he could only be cured of the leprosy with which he 
was afflicted, if bathed in the blood of the children of 
Milles. The leper informs his friend of the prescription 
he had received, which I suppose was in those days ac- 
counted a specific for this disorder, as Glower, in the 2nd 
book of his Confessio Amantis, tells a story of Constan- 
tino, when struck with leprosy, ordering a bath of this 
description.^ The heads of his two infants are imme- 
diately struck off by the father. Amys thus enjoys the 
benefit of the prescribed bath, and Milles soon after re- 
turning to lament over the bodies of his children, finds 
them in as perfect health as before they had been be- 
headed, " et se jouoyent dedans le lict, I'un a I'autre, 

^ Contrary to modern medical opinion, lepers were in tlie INIiddle Ages 
popularly credited with great sexual vigour, AVomen who were willing 
to do so were permitted to marry lepers by the Gregorian Decretals. 

^ See infra, note to Ser Giovanni, iv. 1, Grimm"s notes on Der arme 
Heinrich, p. 173 ; Von der Hagen, Gesammtabenteuer, iii. p. clii., 
etc. ; Germania, vii. p. 323, etc., and Wolf, Niederlandische Sagen, No. 

The Mongol chief Tcharmaghoun, who flourished in the earlier part 
of the thirteenth century, is reported to have been apprised by a Jew- 
that he would recover from a malady which afflicted him by plunging 
his feet into the entrails of young children newly killed. For this pur- 
pose he caused thu-ty infants to be massacred, but when the remedy 
proved ineffectual he caused the Jew to be put to death. See Lebeau, 
Histoire du Bas Empire, vol. xvii. p. 456, note by Brosset. See on 
this subject an article in The Month, Feb., 1885, entitled : The Pound 
of Flesh. 


d'line pomme que uostre Seigneur leur avoit donnc " 
[c. 54].' 

In gratitude for these miraculous cures, the two friends 
set out on a pilgrimage ; but on their return through 
Lombardy they are treacherously killed by Ogier the 
Dane, who was at that time in rebellion against Charle- 
magne [c. 58]. 

Milles, when he proceeded on his pilgrimage, left his 
two children, Anceaume and Florisell, in the cradle. 
These infants were constantly guarded by an ape, who 
acted as an assiduous nurse, and was gifted with a most 
excellent understanding and benevolent disposition. — " Si 
n'est point de memoire d'homme que jamais on n'ouyt 
parler de la condition de tel Cinge : Car il avoit en luy 
grant sens et memoire, et mainte bonne maniere avoit 
apprise tandis qu'on le nourissoit. Sy aymoit parfaicte- 
ment ce Cinge les deux j)etis enfans du Comte, tellement 
que niiict et jour ne les pouoit laisser ; et ne sceut on 
oncques garder qu'il ne couchast toutes les nuicts avec- 
ques eux sans leur faire nulle mesprision, ny aucun mal : 
ne pour quelque bature qu'on luy sceust faire jamais ne 
vouloit laisser les petis enfans, et tout le long du jour leur 
tenoit compagnie, et estoit toute son intention aux enfans. 
Et ne faisoit que les baiser et accoller, et jamais ne vouloit 
ne boire ne menger si ce n'estoit de la propre viande qu'on 
bailloit aux enfans." This ape had prepared the minds 
of the household of Milles for the intelligence of his 
death, by equipping his children in a complete suit of 
mourning [c. 58]. 

Lubiane, the wicked widow of Amys, seeing that the 
children were now left without the protection of a father, 
resolves, in concert with her brother, on their destruction. 
The countess, their mother, is privately put to death, and 
the children carried off, to the great consternation of the 
ape, who insists on accompanying them. After three 
months' detention at the residence of Lubiane, they are 
thrown by her command into the sea. The ape swims after 
them till two angels of paradise descend in disguise of 

^ The Welsh A'ersion does not mention this apple, but states that each 
had a rod mark like a silk thread round his neck in attestation of the 

I. Y 


swans, and bear away the cliildi*en safe through the sea ; 
one carries Anceannie to the coast of Provence, where he is 
picked up and educated by a woodman [c. 74]. The other 
conducts Florisell to the shores of Genoa, where he is taken 
under the protection of a lioness, who introduces him to 
her cubs, with which he is gradually accustomed to hunt. 
The ape having lost sight of them, continues to swim till 
he is received on board a merchant vessel, which soon after 
comes into harbour. Its crew propose to take him home 
to their own country, but he hastily wishes them good 
morning. — " Et pour le bien qu'ils luy avoient fait ne leur 
dist aultre grant mercy, sinon qu'il leur fist la moue." 

Our aj^e spent fifteen days in a forest, searching for the 
children, for whose sake he subsisted all that time on herbs 
and water, although habitually he was somewhat addicted 
to the pleasures of the table. Finding his search in the 
forest vain, he set out for Clermont, the j^aternal inheri- 
tance of his wards, where he was received with acclama- 
tions by the populace ; but he declined the honours of a 
public entertainment, as he felt his spirits dej^ressed on 
account of the loss of the children : it would also appear 
that he was in very bad humour, " car il mordoit et esgra- 
tignoit tons, qui n'estoit pas sa coustume." He paid his 
first visit to Richer, the old seneschal of Milles, whom he 
persuaded to proceed to the j^alace of Lubiane, to ascertain 
the fate of the childi-en. The seneschal is immediately 
thrown into prison by Lubiane [c. 79], who sets out, accom- 
panied by her brother, for the court of Charlemagne, to 
obtain a grant of the county of Clermont, on pretence that 
the race of Milles is extinct. Meanwhile the ape having 
insinuated himself into the confidence of the jailer, gains 
access to the seneschal, and at the very first interview sug- 
gests the propriety of writing to Charlemagne, to give him 
some insight into the character of the claimants. The aj^e 
charges himself with the letter, but from the badness of 
the roads and want of relays, he does not reach Paris till 
some days after the traitors. He makes his first appear- 
ance at court, though still in his travelling dress, during a 
great festival, and signalizes his arrival by assaulting the 
Countess Lubiane, rending her garments, and even com- 
mitting ravages on her person. He then respectfully pre- 


seuts the letter to Charlemagne [c. 82], who thinks the 
matter of sufficient importance to consult his peers. The 
difficulty is to find a champion to maintain the accusation: 
the ai^e. however, readily steps forth as opponent to one of 
the relatives of Lubiane, who ottered himself as her 
defender. Defiances of this description, singular as they 
may ap|»ear, were not unknown in France about the period 
of the composition of this work. In Monfaucon (Monu- 
mens de la Monarchic Francoise, vol. iii. p. 68), there is an 
accoimt of a combat which took place in 1371, between a 
greyhound and a knight who had treacherously slain the 
dog's master. This animal attacked the assassin with such 
violence whenever they happened to meet, that susj^icion 
was at length excited, and Charles appointed a solemn 
combat between the parties. The knight was j^rovided 
with a club : the dog had only his natural arms, but was 
supplied with an open cask as a place of retreat ; the just 
cause prevailed, the traitor was forced to confess his crime, 
and a sculptiu-e commemorating the event long adorned 
the chimney-piece in the hall of the castle of Montargis.^ 
On the present occasion, too, the good cause and our ape 
are triumphant. The champion of Lubiane is soon obliged 
to confess himself vanquished, in order to avoid being torn 
piecemeal : according to the established customs, he is 
hanged after the combat, and Lubiane is burned alive. 
"We are informed by the author of the romance [c. 85], that 

^ Joseph Scaliger also relates the event. The actual circumstances 
were that Aubry de Montdidier was assassinated by a certain Chevalier 
Macaire. in the forest of Bendy, and buried at the foot of a tree. His 
faithful dog only left the spot when urged by the pangs of hunger, and 
went to the house of a friend of Aubry's in Paris, and by his behaviour 
induced search to be made, which led to the discovery of the body. 
Some time afterwards the animal perceived Macaire, whom he attacked 
with fury. The King heard of this, and declared qicil icktait gage de 
bataiUc, that is. ordered one of those combats. csLlledji'.gemcnts de Dieu, 
on which innocence, it was supposed, was privileged to triumph. M. de 
Sainte Foix. in his Essais historiques sur Paris, i. 215, places the 
event in the time of Philippe Augustus. See further, Graesse, 
ii. ah. 3, p. 352, and Hagen's Gesammtabenteuer, i. cv., etc. Liebrecht 
recalls a passage of Plutarch's '' Moralia, de SoUertia Animal.,"' c. xiii., 
and makes the following quotation from Pliny's "Natural History," viii. 
40 (61) : '• Ab alio (sc. cane) in Epiro agnitum in conventu percussorem 
domini, laniatuque et latratu coactum fateri scelus." 


the history of the ape, and particularly of this judicial 
combat, were delineated in his time on the walls of the 
great hall of the palace of Paris, which was bui'ned, I 
believe, in 1618. 

While the ape was thus distinguishing himself at court, 
and preparing materials for the genius of future artists, 
Florisell, the son of Milles, having followed his comrades, 
the yomig lions, in the course of their field sports as far as 
the Venetian territory, is caught by Gloriant, the Saracen 
king of that country, who delighted in the chase of wild 
beasts [c. 87]. In a few days the lioness and her cubs 
came to Venice, to reclaim him, but by this time her eleve 
had fallen in love with the king's daughter, "parquoy Flo- 
rissell ne pensa plus au lion, ne n'entint conte ; " and they 
are accordingly obliged to return without him to their den, 
after depopulating the neighbourhood [c. 88]. 

Anceaume, the other son of Milles, being detected in an 
intrigue with the daughter of the woodman, is driven from 
the house, and flies for refuge to an adjacent monastery. 
To this place Eicher, the seneschal, accompanied by the 
ape, comes to pay his devotions. The animal, by the 
fineness of his nose, soon recognizes his young master, and 
persuades the seneschal to take him along with them. 

He is accordingly introduced by the ape at the court of 
Charlemagne, and serves in an expedition undertaken by 
that monarch against Venice, of which the professed object 
was to recover the body of St. Mark, which had been in- 
terred there about five hundred years before [c. 93]. In 
this campaign Florisell distinguishes himself on the side of 
the Saracens, and Anceaume on that of the Christians. 
Anceaume takes Gloriant, king of Venice, prisoner ; and 
Florisell overthrows and sends captive to Venice the bravest 
peers of Charlemagne. At length the two brothers are 
sent out against each other, and after a furious contest, 
being both tired, they sit down to rest. The young war- 
riors are thus led mutually to recount the story of the 
early j)art of their lives. From this reciprocal detail they 
conjecture that they are related, and Florisell in conse- 
quence proceeds with Anceaume to the camp of Charle- 
magne [c. 110]. There the surmises of the brothers are 
confirmed by the testimony of Eicher and of the ape, who 


embraces tliem alternately with much sympathy. " Les 
deux freres s'eu allerent coucher ensemble, et le Cinge s'en 
alia avec eux, et se mussa dessoubz leur lict ainsi qu'il 
avoit apprins. Et puis, c^uant ils furent couchez, les vint 
accoller et baiser tout a son ayse ; tout ne plus ne moins 
que fait ung amant qui baise s'amye. Si fut ce Cinge celle 
nuit si surprins d'amour, qu'il se coucha entre les deux 
enfans, la ou il mourut la nuict de joye. Et quant le roy 
Charlemagne le sceut si en getta maint soupir, et alia dire 
— Haa Cinge moult avois le cueur scavant ; Je scay de vray 
que tu es mort de joye." ' 
The romance of 


may in one respect be regarded as a continuation of !Milles 
and Amys ; Jourdain, who gives name to the work, being 
the son of Girard of Blaves, one of the children of Amys. 
It is said to be " extraite d'ung viel livre moult ancien 
qu'estoit en Eyme et viel Picart ; " a form in which it is 
often cited by Du Cange in his G-lossary. Having been 
converted into prose, it was printed at Paris in 4to., with- 
'ut date, and at the same place in folio, 1520. 

The hero of this romance came into the world with one 
of his legs white as snow, and the other black as ebony ; 
while the right arm appeared of a rose, and the left of a 
citrine colour. A clerk explained that these personal 
pecuharities portended a checjuered life — that at one time 
this party-coloured infant would be seated on a throne, 
that at another he would be poor and in captivity. 

' See supp. note. 

- Les faitz et prouesses du noble et vaillant cheualier Jourdain de 
Blaues, .... lequel .... conquesta plusieurs royaulraes sur les 
Sarrazins, etc. Paris, ^Michel le Noir, 1520. See Reiffenbcrgs intro- 
duction to his edition of the Chronicle of ]Mouskes, where he notices 
(ii. ccliv.) a MS. of this romance in the Tournay library. This MS. con- 
tains about -22,000 verses. It is very different, at least in form, from 
the Romance similarly entitled, of which F. Michel has giA'en an extract 
in his edition of the Chanson de Roland (p. xxxi.-xxxv.). The romance 
of Jourdain cited by Renouard. Journal des Savants (July. 1833, p. 389), 
MS. Bibl. du Roy, supp. fr. 632-15, is likewise different. See also notices 
by Reiffenberg in the Bulletin de rAcademie Royale de Bruxelles, torn, 
iv. and v., 1S37-8, and Hofmann (C), Amis et Amiles und Jourdain de 
Blaves. Erlangen 1882. 


These predictions are verified by the event, for Jourdain 
in his youth is so much persecuted by a knight who had 
treacherously slain his father, that he is obliged to abandon 
his paternal estates. On his voyage from Blaves, being 
unfortunately shipwrecked, he is preserved, not by a 
dolphin or a swan, but by a stag which was luckily in 
waiting, and which carries him to the shore of Gardes. 
The incidents that occurred on that coast have a strong 
resemblance to the landing of Ulysses in the kingdom of 
Alcinous, and his interview with Nausicaa. Jourdain, like 
the G-recian hero, is discovered by Driabelle, the king's 
daughter, while he was reposing under a tree, and although 
he did not use the modest precaution of Ulysses,^ he is 
accosted by the princess, who conducts him to her father's 
palace, and clothes him in suitable raiment. He is at first 
mistaken for a person of low degree ; but having van- 
quished an host of pagans and giants, by which the king- 
dom of Gardes was attacked, he receives the Princess 
Driabelle in marriage as the reward of his prowess. 

Soon after the nuptials, Jourdain sets out with his bride 
for France, in order to recover his paternal inheritance. 
During the voyage a storm having arisen, it is proposed 
that Driabelle, who was by this time pregnant, should be 
thrown overboard as a victim to appease the tempest. Her 
husband at first hesitates, but one of his knights removes 
his scruples by suggesting that if an air-hole Avere bored 
in one side, she might be placed in a large cask, fitted up 
with a comfortable bed, and stocked with gold and silver. 
On his return to Gardes, Jourdain boasts of this admirable 
expedient to his father-in-law, who of course could feel no 
uneasiness as to the fate of a daughter thrown overboard 
in a cask which contained so much gold and silver, and 
had an air-hole bored in its side. 

Some years after, our hero having succeeded to the 
crown of Gardes, sets out in quest of Driabelle, and, after 
a long search, finds her residing with a female hermit on 
the borders of a forest in the territory of Pisa. The 
wooden cask in which she had been enshrined was picked 

' 'Etc TTVKivfjg S'vXrjQ TrropOop KXacre x^tpt Traxeiy, 
4>iiXXwv ojg pvaaiTO Trepi xpoi [xijCta 0a;roc. 

Udysset, vi. 128, 129. 


up Oil the shore, to which it had iniraciiloiisly floated, hy 
a miller in the neighbourhood, who received Driabelle in 
his house, but exposed the daughter to whom she shortly 
'after gave birth. To avoid the amorous solicitations with 
which she was persecuted by her host, she had sought 
refuge with the recluse. Soon after this discovery, Jour- 
dain, while hunting one day in the forest, meets his 
daughter in company with two fawns and a hind, by 
whom she had been kindly entreated when exposed by the 
miller. Fortunately the princess had inherited some per- 
sonal peculiarities from her father, whence the queen is 
enabled to identify her by certain marks that had been 
observed on her person shortly after birth ; and as she 
was very beautiful, and of course well educated, she was 
betrothed to Sadoine, the Saracenic king of Scotland, 
whom Jourdain had recently converted along with his 
people to the true faith. 

In this work the leading incident bears a striking re- 
semblance to the history of Apollonius of Tyre, whose 
queen, to appease a storm, was thrown overboard in a chest, 
which floated to the coast of Ephesus. (See above, p. 84.) 

The romance of 


is supposed to have been written during the reign of Charles 
Vin. of France, that is, about the end of the fifteenth 
century. This inference has been drawn partly from the 
language of the work — partly from the character and 
actions attributed to Charlemagne. The romancers who 
wrote a few centimes after his death did justice to his 
talents and virtues ; but their successors have painted 
him as an unreasonable monarch, and sometimes even as a 
cowardly knight. At whatever period written, the work 
was first published in 1501, at Paris, by Verard. This 
edition was followed by a second in 1549, 4to., from the 
same place ; and a third at Rotterdam, 1604.'^ 

Doolin of Mayence, the hero of this tale of chivalry, was 

' Doolin de Maience (la Heur des batailles), chevalier preux et hardi, 
fils dxi noble et cheualeureux Guy, Comte de Maience. 

^ An analysis is given in the Count de Tressan's " Bibliotheque des 


the son of Guvon cle Mayence, who, while engaged in the 
chase, had the misfortune to run down a hermit in mistake 
for a stag. As a suitable j)enance for this inadvertence, he 
resolved to occuj^y the cell of the deceased for the re- * 
mainder of his clays. During his absence the seneschal 
having seized on Mayence, his countess is condemned to 
death, on pretence that she had privately procured the 
assassination of her husband, and all she can obtain is a 
delay in the execution of the sentence, in hopes that some 
champion may appear to espouse her quarrel. Her chil- 
dren are also committed to a ruffian, with instructions that 
they should be murdered : this design is accomplished on 
the younger children, but Doolin escapes, and is found by 
his father wandering in the neighbourhood of the her- 
mitage. Tliere he is brought up in perfect seclusion, till, 
having attained the proper age, he and his father set out 
to recover Mayence, and to rescue the countess. On their 
way to the city G-uyon is struck with sudden blindness, 
which was a manifest indication of the will of Heaven 
that he should not quit his retirement. Doolin therefore 
proceeds alone, and after experiencing a singular adven- 
ture at a castle which lay on his route, ^ he arrives at 
Mayence. There, by overthrowing her accuser, who must 
have been j^ossessed of wonderful patience, he rescues his 
mother from the death that had so long awaited her. He 
is now invested with the sovereignty of Mayence, but has 
soon to sustain a war with Charlemagne, who had been 
exasj^erated at Doolin having failed on some occasion to 
salute him \vith proper respect. In the course of this war 
the conduct of Charlemagne is that of a weak and tyran- 
nical prince ; but he at length attempts to effect a recon- 
ciliation, by offering his enemy the hand of the countess of 
Nivernois, who was his niece. Tliis proposal is rejected 
by Doolin, who was fully as unreasonable as Charlemagne, 

Romans," 1771, Fev. 1-70, Melanges tires. See also Eeichard, Bibl. 
der Eom., iv. 45-90, and Schmidt, Wiener Jahrb., xxxi. p. 125, etc. 
Graesse, All. Lit., iii. 3, p. 340, says it is extant only in tbe French 
prose A-ei'sions. There is, however, an incomplete poem of the story, 
MS. 7635 A. fond de Bruxelles, Bib. Nat., and also, perhaps, a very old 
metrical text of the same, also incomplete, in the library of St. Mark. 
See P. Lacroix, MSS. Ital., p. 163. 
^ See Appendix, Xo. 14. 


with great contempt. " Vrayment," says Charlemagne, 
" beau sire Doolin, Je ne me puis assez esbair de vous 
trouver si clur a appointer." Doolin, however, had placed 
liis affections on the daughter of the lord of Vauclere, a 
city beyond the Rhine, not on account of her beauty or 
accomplishments, but because she was beloved by the 
sultan of Turkey, " lequel est si beau damoyseau que 
merveille ; " and he coveted possession of the city, not for 
its extent or riches, but because it was held by a cruel 
giant, the lady's father, who had under him thirty thousand 
Saracens of uncommon stature and ferocity. Charlemagne 
expresses his astonishment that Doolin should be " si 
outrecuidc et indiscret, cj[u'il cuide que Je luy feray don de 
la chose ou Je n'ay nul droict, non plus que a ce c^ui est 
au plus profond des Indes." The refusal of Charlemagne 
to bestow this territory on Doolin, produces a single 
combat between them, which is interruj)ted by an angel, 
who commands the emperor to acquire it for Doolin by 
force of arms. Accordingly the remainder of the romance 
is occupied with the wars against Yauclere and the king of 
Denmark, who supported the pretensions of the handsome 
sultan. These campaigns terminate with the capture of 
Vauclere, the marriage of Doolin with the giant's daughter, 
and his accession to the throne of Denmark by right of 

The exploits of Doolin are the subject of a German 
poem, by Alxinger, in the style of Oberon, and which, next 
to the work of Wieland, is accounted the best in the mixed 
class of heroic and comic poetry. But whatever may be 
the merit of the j^oem, the Histoire de Doolin is not an 
interesting romance, and its hero is chiefly remarkable as 
the ancestor of a long race of Paladins, particularly Ogier 
the Dane, so frequently mentioned by the Italian poets. 

The fabulous history of 

Ogier le Danois,^ 
though not printed till about the same period with that of 

' ... le rommant nome ogier le dannoys, A. Vcrard, Paris, circa 
1498, and numerous subsequent editions. 
" Aucharius gloriosissimus dux" is mentioned by Paul I. in a letter 


Doolin, was written at a mucli earlier date, or at least the 
incidents w^ere earlier imagined. There can be little doubt 
that a northern hero of the name of Ogierus, or Hulgenis, 

to King Pepin in 760, as one of the two envoys sent by Pepin to compel 
the Lombard king, Desiderius, to restore certain places to the Pope (G. 
Cenni's " Monumenta dominationis Pontificise," i. p. 163, Rom., 1760; 
other recensions of the papal letter spell " Autharius "). In the Life of 
Pope Adrian I., written in the ninth century by Anastasius, the Vatican 
librarian, " Autcharius" appears five times : he is a refugee at the court 
of Desiderius ; he takes part in the march of the Lombards towards 
Rome ; he is warned back by Adrian ; he flies before Charlemagne into 
Verona; and he surrenders in 774, together Avith the widow and the 
two orphan sons of Carloman, the brother of Charlemagne (Anast. Vit. 
Eom. Pont., Rome, 1718, i., sections 296, 307, 308. 310, and 314, pp. 
236, 243, 244, 246, 247). The monk of St. Gall (fl. circ. 885) describes 
" Otkerus " (or '* Oggerus," according to some MSS.) as standing on 
one of the towers of Pavia to Avatch the approach of tlie French army, 
and as pointing out to Desiderius the person of the iron Charles (•' fer- 
reus Karolus," Pertz, Mon. Germ. Hist., ii., Han., 1829, p. 759). A 
church legend, headed " Conversio Othgerii militis," describing the re- 
tirement of Ogier, with an old comrade, into the abbey of St. Faron, at 
Meaux, occurs in a MS. (Bib. Nat. anc. S. Germain des pres, Xo. 1607, 
sa?c. X. vel xi.), printed in Acta SS. ord. Benedicti, by Achery and 
Mabillon. Ogier is distinguished from the Lombards by the epithet 
*' Francus." In a chronicle published in Pertz's " Monumenta Germ." 
(1829, ii. p. 214), St. Martin's Abbey, Cologne, is stated to have been 
restored '' per Otgerum Daniae ducem, adjuvante Karolo Magno." 
'' Olgerum" would seem to be the reading in the MS., Avhich is not later 
than 1050, and thus furnishes the earliest connection of the name Avith 
Denmark ; but it is not quite impossible that such connection may liave 
originated Avith some poet of his OAvn century. There seems to haA'e 
been at one time, at all CA^ents, a fashion at the court of Louis le Debon- 
naire to derive the Franks in general from the Danes. '' We must ad- 
mit, however, continues Mr. Ward, " that it is much more likely that 
Ogier's traditionary surname Avas a growth of the usual Avild kind. 
Barrois, the editor of the oldest version of the Chanson of Ogier (pub- 
lished in 1842), has made out a A-ery plausible case in faA-our of his 
theory, that tradition began Avith giving Ogier lands in Ardennes, and 
calling the country Ardenemarche and the hero I'Ardenois ; and that 
these names Avere afterwards corrupted into Danemarche and Danois. 
He has certainly shown that in the two MSS. which he has used, of the 
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the two appellations just mentioned 
are interchanged ; for Tierris d'Ardane . . . who is sometimes styled 
' I'Ardenois,' is in one line of the earlier MS. called ' Ii Danois :' whilst 
Ogier himself is in one line of the later MS. called ' I'Ardenois.' " — 
Ward, Cat. i. pp. 604-6. See also Ward, Cat. i. p. 628, on the MS. 
(Royal, 15, E. vi.) of Simon de Pouille, wherein Thierri of Ardenne is in 
one place (at fol. 42, col. 2, 1. 4) called " le dannois " instead of " I'Ar- 
dennois." We may add that it is difficult to localize '* Ardenne ;" the 


actually existed in the ago of Charlemagne. Bartholinus, 
in his •' Dissertatio Historiea de Hnlgero Dano qui Caroli 
magni tempore tloruit," cites a great mass of old French 
and German chronicles as authorities for his existence and 
martial exploits, his being sent as a hostage to Paris, his 
flight to Lombardy, and marriage to an English princess. 
The traditions concerning this hero were probably first com- 
municated to the French nation by the Norman invaders, 
and were embodied in a number of metrical romances, 
written in the reign of Philip the Hardy (1270-85). Of 
these the longest is Les Enfances d'Ogier le Danois, which 
was written by Adenez, or Adans, as he is sometimes 
called, herald to Henry III., duke of Brabant,^ and sur- 
named Eoij, from having been crowned in a poetical con- 
test. He informs us that the materials of his romance 
were communicated to him by a monk, called Savary, from 
certain northern legends preserved in the abbey of St. 
Denis. This metrical work of Adenez, and others of a 
similar description, were the foundation of the prose 
romance which was formed not long after the appearance 

word occurs frequently in French topography, and was no doubt generic 
{:=? fori Stic r). Cf. our Arden and Dean. See infra, p. 3-12. 

" The prose romance," wi-ites Mr. Ward (i. p. 609), •' which was t'omied 
with a few alterations from the present version (of the Chanson de geste, 
Royal, 15, E. vi.), and not. asBrunet asserts, from the work of Adenet le 
Roi, was pubHshed in 149S, and several times in the sixteenth i-entmy. 
. . . Remarks of great interest, by Paulin Paris upon the history of 
Ogier . . . are to be found in Histoire litteraire, xx. (1842), pp. 6^9-694, 
and xxii. (1852), pp. 643-659, and also in Les MSlS. Fi'ancais de la Biblio- 
thcHiue du Koi, vi. (1845), pp. 122-128. A critical notice of Ugier is 
given by Gaston Paris, Histoire Poe'tique de Charlemagne (1865), pp. 
306-313. L. Gautier, in his Epopees Fi'ancaises, iii. (ed. 1880), pp. 52- 
55, has published some remarks upon the historical elements of the 
Ugier legend, and upon its further development ; but he has reserved 
his biographical notice of the subject for his sixth volume, which is to 
deal with the cycle of Doon de Mayence." 

An abstract of the romance is contained in Melanges tires d'unc 
Grande Bibl., t. viii. 

In Philomena (see p. 290) there are two paladins named Ogier. Auge- 
rius Danesus and Augerius de Xomiandia. 

' '' Icy endroit est cil livre tinez. 

Qui des Enfances d'Ogier est apelez ; 
Ur vueille Diex qu'il soit paracbevez, 
En tel maniere qu"estre n"en puisse blamez 
Li Roy Adans. ptu- ki il est rimez."' 


of its metrical prototypes. The infamoTis and traitorous 
character assigned in the prose romance to the knights 
temj^lar, makes it probable that it was written in the time 
of Philip the Fair, in whose reign that order was suppressed, 
on account of real or alleged enormities. 

Doolin of Mayence had by his wife, Flandrina, a son 
called G-eoffrey, Avho succeeded to him in the kingdom of 
Denmark, and Ogier the Dane was son to this monarch. 

The fairies, who only act a part in the more recent 
romances of the Round Table, appear in the earliest tales 
relating to Charlemagne. Not fewer than six of these 
intermeddling beings presided at the birth of Ogier. Five 
of the number bestowed on liim the most precious gifts 
and accomplishments, while Morgane, the sister of Arthur, 
who was the sixth, decreed, that when Ogier had passed a 
long life of glory, he should come to her palace of Avallon 
in his old age, and, laying his laurels at her feet, partake 
with her the enjoyments of love in the finest residence in 
the universe. 

Some disputes having arisen between the king of Den- 
mark and Charlemagne, Ogier, who was now ten years of 
age, was, at the adjustment of differences, sent as a 
hostage to Paris, where he was instructed in all the accom- 
plishments of the time. At the end of four years, Charle- 
magne, irritated by some new transgression of the king of 
Denmark, banished Ogier to the castle of St. Omer. There 
his confinement and exile were soothed by the kindness of 
the governor, and still more sweetly solaced by the atten- 
tions of his daughter, the beautiful Bellissande. Ogier 
seems to have been on no occasion disposed to abide the 
amorous old age reserved him by decree of the fairies ; but 
he was unfortunately withdrawn from a residence which 
love had begun to render delightful, and summoned to 
attend Charlemagne to Italy, on an expedition against the 
Saracens. In the romance there is a long, but not very 
interesting account, of the services he performed for Charle- 
magne, and his narrow escapes from the plots of Chariot, 
Charlemagne's unworthy son, who was envious of his re- 
nown. The emperor having at length triumphed over all 
his enemies, and re-established Leo in the pontifical throne, 
returned to France, accompanied by Ogier. 


The first intelligence the Danish hero learned on his 
arrival, was, that Bellissande had made him father of a 
son, and the next, that he had succeeded to the crown of 
Denmark by the demise of his parents. He took immediate 
possession of this sovereiiinty, but after a reign of some 
years he resigned it, and returned to France. 

Meanwhile the son of Ogier and Bellissande had grown 
up, and was a deserved favourite at the court of Charle- 
magne. One day, having unfortunately vanquished Chariot 
at a game of chess, that prince, who was not remarkable 
for his forbearance, struck him dead with the chess board. 
The exasperated father of the victim insulted his sovereign 
so grossly in consequence of this outrage, that he was 
forced to fly into Lombardy. Didier, king of that country, 
was then at war with Charlemagne ; but, spite of the 
assistance of Ogier, he was worsted by the French monarch. 
The Danish hero escaped from a castle in which he was 
besieged, but while asleep by the side of a fountain, he 
was taken captive by Archbishop Turpin. Ogier refused 
to be reconciled to his sovereign, unless the guilty Chariot 
was delivered up to his vengeance. These conditions were 
complied with, but when Ogier was about to strike off the 
head of the prince, his ann was arrested by the voice of an 
angel, commanding him to spare the son of Charlemagne. 

After this interposition, Ogier returned to his obedience, 
and was soon after employed to combat a Saracen giant, 
who had landed with a great army in France, but was 
defeated and slain according to the final lot of all pagans 
and giants. Ogier received as a reward the hand of the 
princess Clarice of England. This lady had followed her 
father to France, who came there to do homage for his 
crovm. She had been intercepted, however, and detained 
by the pagans, from whom she was rescued by the exer- 
tions of Ogier, who, soon after his union, passed over to 
England, and in right of his wife, was there acknowledged 
as king: but, tired of the enjoyment of an empire which 
had been so easily gained, he soon after set out in quest 
of new adventures, the account of which forms the second 
part of the romance. 

Of this division of the work, a considerable portion is 
occupied with the wars in Palestine. Our adventurer sue- 


cessively seized on Acre, Jerusalem, and Babylon, of 
wliich cities lie was declared king, but resigned tliem in 
turn to -his kinsmen, wlio had accompanied him on his 
expedition, and anew set sail for France. For some time 
he enjoyed a favourable breeze, but at length his vessel 
was driven by a tempest on a rock, to which it became 
immovably fixed. In proportion as provisions failed, the 
sailors were in turn thrown overboard. 'V\nien all his crew 
had been thus disposed of, Ogier landed and directed his 
steps to a castle of adamant, which, though invisible 
during day, shone by night with miraculous splendour. 
His first entrance into this mansion has a striking resem- 
blance to a description in the romance of Partenopex : 
everything is magnificently arranged, but no person 
apj^ears. At length, having entered a saloon, he perceived 
a repast prepared, and a horse ^ seated at table, who, on 
the approach of Ogier, instantly rose, presented him with 
water, and then returned to his chair. The hospitable 
quadruped next made signs to his guest to partake of the 
viands, but Ogier, little accustomed to fellowship with such 
hosts, and scarce comprehending his imperfect gesticu- 
lation, left the whole repast for behoof of the landlord, 
who, after a plentiful supper, conducted the stranger to 
a magnificent chamber j)repared for his repose. Next 
morning Ogier went abroad, and followed a path which 
conducted him to a delightful meadow. " Welcome," said 
the fairy Morgana, who now apj^eared richly attu'ed, amidst 
an assemblage of beautiful nymphs — "welcome to the 
palace of Avallon,- where you have been so long ex- 
pected." She then re-conducted him to the palace of 
adamant ; but the reader hears no more of the horse, nor 
any satisfactory reason why he was preferred to the office 
of croujner, and selected to do the honours of the castle, 
for which he must have been but indifferently qualified, 
either by his dexterity in carving, or his talents for 

On his arrival at the palace. Morgana placed a ring on 
the hand of Ogier, who, though at that time upwards of a 

^ Named Papillon in the Metrical Ogier. MS. Brit. Museum, Royal, 
15 E. vi. 

2 See supra, pp. 229, 198 notes, and Boynania xii., 510. 


himdred years of age, immediately assumed the appear- 
ance of a mau of thirty. She afterwards fixed oli his brow 
a golden crowu, adorned with 2>ret'ious stones, which formed 
leaves of myrtle and of laurel. From this moment the 
coui-t of Charlemagne and its glories were effaced from 
his recollection — the thrones of Denmark and Palestine 
vanished from his view — Morgana was now the sole object 
of his devotion. The delights of her garden and palace 
were ever varied by magic ; and, as described in the ro- 
mance, remind us of the illusions of Alcina. The fairy 
also introduced her lover to the acquaintance of her brother 
Arthur, who had resided with her for the last four hun- 
dred years. Oberon, too, another brother of Morgana, 
frequently visited his sister, and jjlaced at her disposal a 
troop of spirits, who assumed a variety of fonns, appear- 
ing in the shape of Lancelot, Tristan, or some other knight 
of the Round Table, who came as if to consult their sove- 
reign on the interpretation of the laws of that celebrated 
institution, and to discourse with him on their former 
exploits. Sometimes they were pleased to take the figures 
of giants and monsters, and in these characters attacked 
the pavilion of the monarch. Ogier and the British king 
were delighted with each other's society, and were fre- 
quently engaged in joust and tournament with these 
imaginary foes.' 

Two hundred years having elapsed in these amusements, 
the moment arrived at which Ogier was destined to be 
separated for a short while from his mistress. The crown 
of oblivion having been removed from his brow, the glories 
of his former life burst on his memory, and he suddenly 
departed - for the coiu't of France, where he was destined 
to revive, imder the first of the Caj^ets, that spirit of 
chivalry which had simk under the feeble successors of 
Charlemagne. The romance describes, in a way amusing 
enough, the astonishment of the courtiers at the appearance 
of this celebrated but old-fashioned hero, and his reciprocal 
surprise at the change that had taken place in manners 
and customs. France, and even Paris, were at this time 

' See Apjiendix, No. 15. 

2 Kicling up:»n rapillon, according to the British Museum, 0?ier. 
f. 152. 


threatened by the nortliern nations who had settled in 
Normandy. Ogier was api3ointed to command an expedi- 
tion against them, and by restoring the genuine spirit of 
chivalry in his army, entirely defeated the enemy. After 
his return he assisted at the meetings of the councils ; 
and, in the course of a twelvemonth, revived throughout 
the kingdom the vigour of the age of Charlemagne. 

As Ogier still bore the ring he had received from 
Morgana, which gave him the appearance of unfaded 
youth, he was highly favoured by the ladies of the court. 
The secret, however, had nearly transpired by means of 
the old countess of Senlis, who, while making love to 
Ogier, drew this talisman from his hand and placed it on 
her own. She instantly blossomed into youth, while Ogier 
shrunk into decrepitude. The countess was forced to give 
back the ring, and former appearances were restored ; but, 
as she had discovered its value, she employed thirty 
champions to regain it, all of whom were successively 
defeated by the knight. 

About this time the king of France having died, the 
c^ueen wisely resolved to espouse a hero, who, with the 
bloom and vigour of thirty, possessed the experience of 
three centuries: but while the marriage ceremony was 
performing, the bridegroom was suddenly carried away by 
Morgana, and, to the misfortune of chivalry, has never 
since been heard of. The fairies of romance are much in 
the habit of conveying away mortals who possess the 
qualities that engage their affections. In the Arabian 
Nights, Ahmed, son of the sultan of the Indies, is trans- 
ported to the castle of the fairy Pari Banou, who was 
enamoured of him ; and in the fabliau of Lanval,^ the 
knight of that name was borne away, like Ogier, to Avallon, 
whence he has never yet returned. 

Ogier le Danois is certainly one of the most interesting 
stories of the class to which it belongs, and has accordingly 
gone through a great number of editions, of which the 
earliest was printed at Paris, in folio, by Verard, without 
date, and the next at Lyons, in 1525. 

The hero of this popular work has been the subject of 

' In Legrand d'Aussj's collection, i. p. 165. 

CH. IV.] MEURVIN. 337 

two romantic poems in Italy, II Danese Uggieri, and La 
Morte del Danese. He is also frequently mentioned by 
Ariosto and Boiardo. Piilci, in his Morgante Maggiore, 
alludes in a jocular manner to the fiction of his long-pro- 
tracted existence : — 

E del Danese che ancor vivo sia 
Dicono ak-un (ma non la Istoria mia), 
E che si triiova in certa g^otta oscura, 
E spesso armato a caval par che stia, 
Si che chi il Aede gli mette paura. 

Morg. Mag. c. 28. 

There exists a romance which gives an account of the 
exploits of the son of Ogier and Morgane, called 


from whom the celebrated Godfrey of Bouillon is feigned 
to have been descended. This work has gone through 
many editions, but seems totally uninteresting. Meurvin 
was the father of Oriant, a progenitor of Helias the Knight 
of the Swan, whose daughter Ida espoused Count Eustace 
of Boulogne, great grandfather of Godfrey de Bouillon. 
The novel, which was a late composition, will be found 
analvzed in the BibHotheque des Eomans, 1778, Feb. j^p. 

It has already been mentioned, that Ogier le Danois 
was grandson of Doolin of Mayence. Doolin appears to 
have been the patriarch of chivalrj^ ; for, besides his eldest 
son Geoffrey, the father of Ogier, he had a child of his 
own name, who inherited the country of Mayence, and was 
the ancestor of Gan, who acts so villainous a part in the 
Italian poems. The exploits of a third son form the sub- 
ject of the romance Gerard d'Euphrate, which the author 
says he was employed for thirty years in translating from 
the Walloon rhyme, and which was published in folio, 
1549. The scene of most of the adventures is laid in the 
east, and the whole work is very freely interspersed with 
enchantments, and the machinations of magicians and 
fairies, some of whom were friendly and others hostile to 

* Lhistoire du preux Meuruin filz d'Oger le dannoys, lequel par sa 
prouesse conquist Hierusalem, Babilune, etc. See Graesse, ii. 3, p. 344 ; 
Tressan, Extr., t. ii. p. 146-160 ; Wiener Jahrb., xxxi. p. 129, 130. 
I. z 


Gerard, the hero of the romance. A fourth son of Doolin 
was Beuves, count of Aigremont, who was father of Yivian 
and the Christian enchanter Maugis, the Malagigi of 
Ariosto. Aymon, count of Dordogne, the youngest son of 
Doohn, left a posterity still more illustrious, having been 
the parent of Renaud de Montauban and his three brothers, 
whose names suggest everything that is splendid and 
romantic in poetry or fiction. 

There are different French romances, both in prose and 
verse, concerning the adventures and exploits of the four 
sons of Aymon. In these the same circumstances are fre- 
quently repeated, which renders a separate analysis of each 

The History of 

Maugis ' 

and his brother Vivian derives considerable interest from 
the novelty of the character of its hero, and the singular 
enchantments he employs. In his infancy Maugis was 
stolen by a Moorish slave, with the intention of carrying 
him into paganism. He was rescued, however, by the 
united efforts of a lion and leopard, and was picked up by 
a benevolent fairy, who was fortunately traversing the 
desert at the moment. A dwarf, whom the fairy kept in 
pay, soon after acquainted her with the lineage of the 
child. Having received this information, she conferred on 
him the benefits of baptism, and sent him to her brother 
to be initiated in magic, the rudiments of which he acquired 
with wonderful facility. His first magical experiment was 
of the boldest description, — he personated the devil, and 
in that character passed into the island of Boucault, where 
he subdued and tamed the horse Bayardo, an exploit 
attributed by Tasso to Rinaldo. This unruly steed in- 

1 La tres playsante liystoyre de Maugist Daygremont et de Uiuian son 
frere, en laquelle est contenu coment Maugist a layde de Oriande la 
Faee samye alia en lysle de Boucault ou il sehabilla en diable. Et puis 
commet il enchanta le deable Eaouart, et occist le serpent qui gardoit 
la roche par laquelle chose il conquist le cheual Bayard et aussi con- 
questa le grant Geant Soi-galant. — A. Loti*ian, Paris, 4to. This is the 
title given by Brunet, who assigns no date, but considers that it is later 
than an impression of the work by J. Trepperel, Paris, noticed by several 
bibliographers ; numerous subsequent editions. 

CH. IV.] MAUGIS. 339 

habited a cavern -which was guarded bv a horrible dragon, 
and was in the vicinity of a volcano which formed one of 
the principal mouths of hell. There is a striking resem- 
blance between this adventure and the eastern story of the 
Rakshe, a winged horse, which rendered the Dry island 
uninhabitable until he was subdued by Housheng, king of 
Persia, who tamed and mounted him in all his wars with 
the Dives. ^ Maugis having signalized himself by the con- 
quest of Bayardo, was admitted to the necromantic univer- 
sity of Toledo, where he completed his studies, and, ac- 
cording to some accounts, held the professor of magic's 
chair in that city, which was distinguished as a school for 
the mysteries of the black art : — 

The city of Toledo erst 
Fostered the lore of necromancy, 
Professors there, in magic versed, 
From public chair taught pyromancy, 
Or geomancy ; or rehearsed 
Exjieriments in hjdromancj.^ 

Having perfected himself in the mysteries of magic, the 
enchanter assisted Marsirius, king of Spain, in his wars 

^ Liebrecht enumerates the following notices of winged horses, etc. : 
Ersch and Grubers '• Encyclopaedia,"' sub. voc. Huschenck ; Loiseleur 
Deslongchamps, Fabl. Indiennes, p. 35, n. 2 ; Schmidt's notes to Strapa- 
rola, p. 269, etc. ; Grimm's " Teutonic Mythology," English ed., p. 392 ; 
Graesse's " Sagenkreise," p. 191, etc. ; Dissertation upon Fortunatus. 
This tale is, perhaps, of Indian origin, cf. Germania, vol. ii. p. 265, etc. 
Klettke's '' Marchensaal," od. iii. p. 4. As for the horse Bayard, in its 
supernatural pedigree, its fidelity, its prospect of perishing by water, 
and the yearly neighing and turmoil in the forest (in the Quatre fils 
Aymon, see Grimm, ubi supra), bears a remarkable resemblance to 
Graelent's horse in the poems of Marie de France (i. 549, etc.), which 
idea is again borrowed from a Breton legend. See Villemarque, Barzaz- 
breiz, vol. i. No. 6, and p. 31, English version by Tom Taylor, Ballads 
and Songs of Brittany, p. 31, etc. — Lieb. 

^ " Questa citta di Tolletto solea, 

Tenere studio di Negromanzia, 
Quivi di magica arte si leggea 
Publicamente, et di Piromanzia ; 
E molti Geomanti sempre avea 
E sperimcnti assai de llidromanzia." 

Pulci's " Morg. Mag." c. 25. 

Not only Toledo, but also Salamanca, and in Italy the schools on the 
banks of the Lacus Nursinus and in the Spelseura Visignianum were 


with the Amiral of Persia, and availed himself of his in- 
cantations to forward and conceal his own intrigue with 
the queen. He also aided Arnaud of Montcler in his con-^ 
test with Charlemagne, deceiving the enemy by fascinating^ 
their eyes, or entering the hostile camp in various disguises, 
after the manner of Merlin. 

The story of the enchantments and amours of Maugis is 
prosecuted in 

The Conquest op Trebizond, by Einaldo.^ 

This romance oj^ens with an account of a magnificent 
tournament proclaimed by Charlemagne, to which Einaldo 
comes incognito, and bears away all the honour and prizes. 
At length the ceremony is interrupted by an embassy from 
the king of Cappadocia, announcing his intentions of em- 
barking for France in order to joust with all the knights 
of Charlemagne. Einaldo, however, anticipates his design, 
and having landed in Cappadocia, overthrows and deposes 
its monarch. Maugis, who had accompanied Einaldo, 
meanwhile engaged in an intrigue with the daughter 
of the king of Cyprus. His amour was detected by a, 
dwarf, who revealed it to the king. It is true the princess 
burnt the dwarf, but this could not prevent her father 
from besieging Maugis in a citadel into which he had 
thrown himself. The emperor of Trebizond aided the 
king of Cyprus, and Einaldo came to the assistance of 
Maugis. The allied monarchs were defeated and slain in 
a great battle, after which Einaldo was elected by the army 
emperor of Trebizond. This romance is the foundation 
of the Italian poem entitled " Trabisonda, nel quale si tratta* 
nobillissime battaglie con la vita e morte de Einaldo." 

celebrated for (natural?) magic. See Delrio, Disquis. Magicse, 1. iu 
qu. i. p. 110, ed. Colon. 1657, also Cracow ; see Scheible's " Kloster," v. 

114.— LlEB. 

' SEnsuyt la coqueste du trespuissant empire de Tresbisonde, et de 
la spacieuse Asie. En laquelle sont coprinses plusieurs batailles tant 
par mer que par terre. Ensemble maintes triumphantes entrees de villes 
& prinses d'icelles decorees par stille poetique et descriptions de pays 
avec plusieurs comptes damours qui iusques cy nont este veuz, — Paris,, 
without date, 4to. 

ch. iv.] four sons of aymon. 341 

Four Sons of Aymon ^ 

is a romance of which there are several variants, and which 
has crrown out of the Cantilcnes or popular ballads which 
commemorated for many succeeding generations the 
struggles of Charles the Bald with his feudatories. 

Charlemagne, irritated by the refusal of Beuves d' Aigre- 
mont to attend his Cour plenicre, is further exasperated 
by the execution of the ambassador he had sent to the 
knight, and proceeds to war against the four sons of Ay- 
mon of Dordogne, Renaud, Allard, Guichard, and Richard, 
and their cousin the magician Maugis, in consequence of 
their abstention from hostilities against their relative 
Beuves, who, after a brief struggle, surrenders and is par- 
doned. Ganelon, a favourite of Charlemagne, is, however, 
resolved on the ruin of Beuves, whom he accuses of con- 
spiring to kidnap the emperor. The latter commissions 
him merely to keep a watch upon d'Aigremont with 400 
men. He musters, instead, 4,000 men, wounds the duke. 
Beuves, and then treacherously assassinates him, and thus 
in his name bequeaths to future romance a synonym for 

Upon the refusal of Charlemagne to accord reparation 
for this perfidy, and his condonation of G-anelon's action, 
the victim's brother Aymon and his son Renaud declare 
themselves absolved from their fealty to the emperor, and 
Renaud, with an ominous partiality, displayed more than 
once, for the game of chess, engages in that intellectual 
recreation with the emperor's nephew Berthelot. Rallied 
by this player upon his distraction, Renaud strikes him 
dead with a blow of the golden chessboard. The emperor 

^ Quatre fils Aymon, Paris, 1525, folio. For theabo\e brief abstract 
I am gratefully indebted to M. Charles Grellet Balguerie, author of 
Tarious learned researches into the earlier history of Aquitaine, 
who is at present engaged upon a historical investigation dealing with 
the Romance of the Sons of Aimon, the scene of which, really the 
south of France, had been supposed to be in the northern Ardennes. 
lie identifies Aimon with Aimon II., Count of Ferigord, who maintained 
a struggle with Charles le Chauve, who here, as in other romances, is 
represented by the Charlemagne of song and story. The aper^u of his 
forthcoming book, with which M. Grellet Balguerie has so kindly 
favoured me, is too long and elaborate to admit of its insertion in 
-extenso in the present work. See Appendix, No. 16. 


orders his arrest, "but his escape is secured by his brothers 
and Maugis, who afterwards rejoin him, and the fugitives 
are pursued by 2,000 horsemen. The foremost three of 
these are killed by Eenaud, who thus provides mounts for 
his brothers, while the magical steed Bayard,^ who tra- 
verses ten leagues at a stretch, proves equal to the trans- 
port of both Eenaud and Maugis. 

Charlemagne exacts an oath from Aymon that he will 
afford no aid to his sons, and the latter having pushed on 
to the vicinity of the paternal demesne of Dordogne, the 
duchess Aye,^ their mother, desirous to avoid all suspicion 
of complicity, induces them to withdraw by promising them 
as much gold as they desire. They retire to a forest — 
Ardenne ^ — where in the valley of fairies, iipon an escarped 
rock commanding the Meuse,^ they constructed the re- 
doubtable fortress of Montfort.^ 

Here they are beleaguered by Charlemagne, but Ee- 
naud performing prodigies of valour, breaks a passage 
► through the expanded ranks of the besiegers, cutting the 
enemy down like corn, and after a sanguinary defeat 
Charlemagne is compelled to retire. Eenaud re-enters the 

' This most intelligent and illustrious steed of chivalry plays a con- 
spicuous part throughout the romance. He and the sword Floberge were 
presented to Renaud by the magician Maugis. Bayard performs good 
service by his swiftness, by giving the alarm by neighing or beating 
Eenaud's shield with his hoofs on emergencies. He plays a prominent 
role in a curious racing episode. Charlemagne, desirous of securing a 
good charger for Roland, institutes a race. Near the goal are displayed 
the various prizes, including the imperial crown itself. The winner, how- 
ever, is to be given to Roland. Maugis, versed besides other arts, in 
turfish tricks, dyes the black Bayard white. Thus disguised he wins the 
race, jockeyed by Eenaud, also disguised, who rides off with all the 
prizes, vainly pursued by the emperor's horsemen. Bayard's white coat 
dissolves and he is recognized, and Renaud avows his identity, but makes 
good his escape on the fleet and faithful steed. 

^ An Aga or Aya was the wife of Aymon I., Comte de Pei'igueux, at 
some time subsequent to 780. 

^ A generic appellation applied to many forests. 

* Or rather the Dordogne, Meuse having been doubtless substituted 
by a confusicm arising from the word Ardenne. M. Rajna, however, 
(Origini dell' epopea francese, Firenze, 1884,) connects Renaud with 
Dortmund, and in general maintains the Germanic origin of the French 
traditions, in which he is in the main supported by Gaston Paris, see 
Romania, No. 52. 

^ The imposing ruins of which may still be seen overhanging the- 


stron2:hold, although pursued by his father Aymon, whom 
he will ouly oppose so far as to kill his horse. 

The castle of Moutfort succumbs, nevertheless, after a 
year's siege, but only through treachery, in which Charle- 
magne participates, and Renaud and his brothers are 
reduced to the condition of outcast fugitives. Aided, 
however, by the supplies of their mother and the resources 
of Maugis, and after abundant vicissitudes and adventures, 
in which Bayard plays no insignificant part, they erect the 
city and fortress of Montauban near the confluence of the 
Dordogne and Gironde. Here they are again besieged by 
Charlemagne, but in the absence of the latter' s commander- 
in-chief Roland, Renaud sallies out, and after carrying 
havoc into the investing host, captures the dragon which 
floats over the tent of Roland and hoists it on the highest 
tower of Montauban. The brave garrison is subsequently 
betrayed into an ambuscade by Yon (or Sancion), King of 

Maugis, however, borne by the fleet and faithful Bayard, 
comes to the rescue, and a sanguinary struggle ensues in 
which Richard was so grievously wounded in the abdomen 
that, in order to ply his antagonist, he was obliged to 
maintain his extruding intestines with his left hand." He is 
afterwards healed by Maugis, his cousin, and they return 
in triumph to Montauban. 

At length his generalissimo Roland, Oger, and others, 
implore Charlemagne to pardon Aymon's sons and Maugis, 
and, as they threaten defection, he accedes to their prayer 
on condition that Renaud's children be hostages, that 
Renaud betake himself to Palestine to fight the Saracens, 
and that he surrender Bayard. Renaud agrees, and after 
embracing his well-tried friend Bayard, , transfers him 
to the emperor. But the faithful charger will allow none to 
mount him. Tlie emperor causes him to be weighted with 
stones and thrown into the river ; he succeeds, however, in 
disengaging himself and gaining the opposite bank. Re- 

' Identified, by M. Longnon, with Eudon, Duke of Aquitaine in the 
eighth century, and, conse(iuently, Charles with Charles Martel. 
Komania, lii., p. 610. 

^ A song still popular in the south of France, and particularly in the 
d^partements of Gers and Lot, celebrates this memorable feat, attributing 
it, however, to Renaud. See Appendix, No. 16. 


naud continues his feats of prodigious valour in Palestine, 
but refuses the kingship in favour of Grodfrey of Bouillon, 
and returns to his native country. He finds his wife 
Clarissa, like Penelope, importuned by suitors, had died of 
grief at his supposed death, and Eenaud, like so many of 
the figures of chivalrous romance, elects to finish his days 
as a hermit ; but, for the sake of occasional exercise, hired 
himself out as a mason. His piety drew on him the hatred 
of his fellow labourers, and one day, while he was praying 
at the bottom of the wall of a church which they were 
building, they threw on his head an enormous stone, by 
which he was slain before he had completed his devotions. 
The concluding scenes of the life of Maugis are exhibited 
in the Chronicle of 


Like his cousin Einaldo, this enchanter had retired to a 
hermitage ; he emerges, however, from this seclusion, and 
repairs to Eome, where he attracts so much notice by his 
eloquence and the sanctity of his manners, that on the 
death of Leo he is raised to the pontifical chair. He soon, 
however, abdicates his new-acquired dignity, and again 
betakes himself to the hermitage. About this time 
E-ichardette, the youngest brother of Rinaldo, was assassi- 
nated by the treachery of Gano, or Granelon. Alard and 
G-uichard, his two surviving brothers, suspecting that the 
crime had been committed by the command, or with the 
connivance, of Charlemagne, publicly insult their sovereign, 
and after this imprudence fly for refuge to the hermitage of 
Maugis. The emperor having discovered the place of their 
retreat, kindled faggots at the entrance of the cavern, and 
smoked the heroes to death. 

There also exists a French romance concerning Charle- 
magne and the family of Aymon, entitled 

^ Histoire singuliere & fort recreatiue Cotenat la (sic) reste des faitz 
& Gestes des quatre filz Aymon, Regnault, Allard, Guichard, et le petit 
Richard. Et de leur cousin le subtil Maugis . . . Semblablement la 
cronieque et hystoire . . . du cheualeureux . . . price Mabrian roy de 
Hierusalera . . . le tout traduict de vieil lagaige en vulgaire francoys. — 
J. Nyverd, Paris, without date, fol., numerous editions. See Schmidt, 
Wiener Jahrb., xxxi. p. 113 ; Abstract, in Bibl. des Roms., 1778, July, 
pp. 102-159 ; Graesse, iii. 3, p. 337-342. 



the incidents of which correspond precisely with those of 
the Morgante Maggiore of Pulei. It is probable, however, 
that the romance was translated from the poem, as it was 
not customary with the Italians to versify so closely the 
lying productions of preceding fablers.^ 

^ Histoire de Morgant le geant lequel avec ses frercs persecutoient 
toujours les chrestienset serviteurs de Dieu. Mais finablement furent ces 
deux freres occis par le conte Koland, etc. — A. Lotrian, Paris, no date. 
There was an edition before this, in 1519. Pulci's work is a rifacimento 
of a poem of the fourteenth century. See Eomania, lii. p. 599. 

- With the class of romances relating to Charlemagne we may range 
the well-known stoi-y of Valentine and Orson, which was written during 
the reign of Charles VIII., and was first printed in 1495, at Lyons, in 

There are a few romances of chivalry concerning French knights 
which cannot properly be classed among those connected with Charle- 
magne and his paladins. Of these the only one worth mentioning is Le 
Petit Jehan de Saintre, which was composed in the middle of the 
fifteenth century by Anthony de la Sale, a Burgundian author, and 
printed in 1517 and 1723. Tressan says, that this work gives a great 
deal of insight into the manners of the age and customs of the French 
court ; in short, that it may be considered as the most national of all 
the French romances. "I have not seen," says Warton, " any French 
romance which has preserved the practices of chivalry more copiously 
than this of Saintre. It must have been an absolute mastei-piece for the 
rules of tilting, martial customs, and public ceremonies prevailing in 
its author's age." — Warton's " Hist, of Eng. Poet.," 1871, vol. ii. p. 292. 

Baudouin, or Baldwin, count of Flanders, is the hero of another 
romance printed at Lyons in 147S and 1509, at Chambery in 1484, and 
aeveral times at Paris, which may be here mentioned. This count is re- 
presented as inflamed with such excessive pride, that he refused the 
daughter of the king of France in marriage. One day, while hunting in 
a forest, he met a lady of majestic stature, arrayed in magnificent attire, 
who accosted him, and declared that she was the heiress of a splendid 
throne in Asia; but that she had fled from the court of her father to 
avoid a marriage which was disagreeable to her. The count, incited by 
love and ambition, espoused her and carried her to the Fi'cnch court. 
When a year had elapsed, the Asiatic princess brought him two beautiful 
daughters ; yet Baldwin, though in the enjoyment of great domestic 
felicity, awaited with much impatience the return of a courier he had 
despatched to the dominions of his royal father-in law. Meanwhile a 
hermit having obtained admittance to the presence of the count, ex- 
pressed his doubts as to the existence of this Asiatic empire, and con- 
cluded with begging leave to dine in company with the princess. The 
request being complied with, when the other guests are seated at table 
the hermit enters the apartment, and, without farther exordium, com- 


The romance of 

Berinus ^ 

enjoyed considerable popularity. Fannus, who, " as Mar- 
tianlx says," resided outside the walls of Rome, had a son 
named Berinus (iii.)- His wife, Agea, shortly after died, and 

mands the landlady to return to the hell whence she had originally 
issued. This mode of address, which unfortunately none of the count's 
visitors had hitherto thought of employing at his board, has the desired 
effect on the hostess, who vanishes with hideous yells, but not without 
doing irreparable damage both to the dwelling and the dinner. 

The fact is, that Baldwin, as a punishment for his pride, had been un- 
wittingly married to the devil. The remainder of the romance is occu- 
pied with a crusade performed by the husband, as an expiation for this 
unfortunate connection, and with the adventures of liis two daughters, 
who turn out better than could have been anticipated from their diabo- 
lical descent. Van Hasselt has given a notice of the romance of Bau- 
douin in the Indtpendant du 28 Nov., 1836, and in the Ecviie de 
Bruxelles, Aout, 1837. 

Unions of the description formed in this romance were not only 
common fictions, but were credited by the vulgar. It was at one time 
generally believed that an ancestor of Geoffrey of Plantagenet had 
espoused a demon, and from this alliance Fordun accounts for the pro- 
fligacy of King John. Andrew of Wyntoun, in his Orygynaie Cronykil 
of Scotland, attributes a similar origin to Macbeth ; and a story founded 
on this species of connection is related as a fact in the thirty-fifth chapter 
of Luther's " Colloquia Mensalia." In the same connection may be cited 
Caesarius Heisterbach, Mirac. et His., iii. c. 10, 11, cf. 12, the History 
of St. Macai-ius, as also the legend of the demoniacal descent of Eleanor of 
Aquitaine (consort of Louis VII. of France, and afterwards of Henry II. 
of England). See also Eeiffenbergon Philip Mouskes, vol. ii. p. Ixviii. j 
Wolf, Niedei'landische Sagen, No. 183, and Tannhauser in Grimm's Teu- 
tonic Mythology (English ed., p. 935), and Gi-aesse, Sage vom Ritter 
Tannhauser, Dresden, 1846; further, the sagaof Astrolabius,inthe Kaiser- 
chronik, verse 13,117, etc., which again manifests a connection with the 
legend of Charlemagne's magic ring (Grimm, Deutsche Sagen, No. 453, 
Eng. ed.), and Von der Hagen's " Gesammtabenteuer," Band. iii. p. 
clxii., etc., Nos. 98 and 99 ; but see Massmann on the lines above speci- 
fied of the Kaiser Kronik. See also notes to p. 146 supra, and the account 
of Merlin's birth, etc. 

Hemricourt, Miroir des Nobles de la Hesbaye, ed. Salbray, p. 139, 
relates how the young knight, Ameil-a-l'Oeil de Lerhy, afforded a 
night's pi'otection to a beautiful young damsel, who professed to be a 
pilgrim to the Holy Land, but acquainted her amorous host next morn- 
ing with her real nature, and vanished, leaving him blind of one eye for 
life. — LiEB. 

This superstition, indeed, appears to have existed in all ages and coun- 

Le Cheualier Berinus, etc. See App. No. 1 ! 

CH. IV.] BERINUS. 347 

Fannus re-married Eaine (vii.), who prejudiced her hus- 
band against her stepson. The latter obtained from his 
father live ships of merchandise (vi.), and settled in 
Blandie (vii.), where one of his first feats was to cheat his 
host at chess (viii.). He was befriended by a certain 
Geoffroj, who pleaded his cause before the Seneschal (xxiii.), 
and he was brought to the palace to King Isopes. Meanwhile 
Gianor, with a bevy of ladies, arrives at Blandie (xxvi.), and 
Mirames married Agriano's sister, Giganio (xxvii.). Thus 
fortified himself, he proceeds to repair the fortresses of 

ti'ies. and seems one of the most prevalent to which mankind have been 
addicted. The Jewish Kabbis believed in an intercourse between the fallen 
angels and daughters of the children of men ; in particular, they believed 
that Cain w as the progeny of the devil, having been the offspring of the 
woman and the serpent. The marriage, however, of Baldwin, count of 
Flanders, above related, and other uni(»nsof a similar description, seem to 
have been suggested by the story of Menippus, in Fhilostratus' Life of 
Apollonius of Tyana. A young man, called Menippus, while travelling in 
the neighbourhood of Corinth, was accosted by a beautiful woman, who 
said she was a Phoenician, and avowed she was captivated with his love. 
She assured him that she was possessed of ample revenues, and was 
proprietor of a magnificent palace in the vicinity of Corinth, where they 
might reside in the indulgence of every imaginable luxury and pleasure. 
Menippus went with her to this abode in the evening, continued for 
some time to frequent her society, and at length fixed on a day for the 
celebration of the nuptial ceremony. Meanwhile the philosopher Appol- 
lonius, remarking some peculiarities in the aspect of Menippus, thus 
addressed him : " I pei-ceive plainly, O Menippus, that you harbour or 
are harboured by a serpent." Menippus replied, that serpent or not, he 
was to espouse her on the morrow. Apollonius invited himself to the 
nuptial banquet : during the entertainment he positively declared the 
golden vessels, precious furniture, and delicious viands to be accursed 
delusion and phantom, and he denounced the lady as a Lamia, who de- 
voured those whom she attracted by her charms. The bride entreated 
him to change the subject of conversation, but Apollonius persisting in 
his invective, she in turn began to revile the philosophers and sophists. 
Meanwhile the furniture was disappearing, and the viands were per- 
ceptibly melting away, on which the bride burst into tears, and begged 
to be excused from revealing her name and lineage. The philosopher, 
however, whom she had irritated by her rash attack on the sophists, 
was inexorable, and would not be satisfied till she explicitly confessed 
that she was, in truth, a confirmed Lamia, who had inveigled ^lenippus 
merely for the pleasure of devouring him, a privilege she would have 
enjoyed as soon as the nuptial ceremony was completed. She farther 
admitted, that she was much in the use of this practice, which gave her 
special delight. Menippus was a good deal surprised, thanked Appol- 
lonius for this deliverance, and became in future more circumspect in his 


Blaudie, wliich he had conquered, and neglected to pay 
tribute (truage) to Agrian (xxx.). 

The king Isopes offers Berinus his niece Clepatras in 
marriage (xli.). ^The barons of Blandie sent word to 
Logres, a rival suitor, of this news (xlii.), who in conse- 
quence arrived at Blandie, but is conquered by Beri- 
nus (Iv.), who is in consequence led in triumph through 
the city in a robe of cloth of gold, after which the nuptials 
took place (Ixi.). The union resulted in a son and a 
daughter, Aigres and Eonimaine. Isopes died, and the 
barons sent to search out Logres to make him king (Ixiv.). 
Berinus and his family were brought " vitupereusement " 
to Logres (Ixvi.) by traitors whom Logres to their great 
surprise hung (Ixvii.). Berinus, however, who seems to 
have been incurably addicted to yachting, was drawn to 
the rock of Adamant (Ixx.), upon which they at once pro- 
ceed to begin deep mourning (Ixxi.). It was decided by 
lot that Aigres should remain here (Ixxii.) while the rest 
departed to Rome, where Berinus found his old master 
Geoff roy. The experiences of Berinus on the rock were of the 
most variegated — visions, phantoms, robbers. The latter 
he killed and routed (Ixxix.), but retained their servant for 
his own use, which servant showed him their treasures. 
Aigres conquered the king Danemont, and converted him, 
by this unusual means securing his friendship (Ixxxi.). 
Aigres found diplomatic service in a mission to demand of 
king Absalon his daughter for the hand of King Holo- 
femes (Ixxxiii. and Ixxxiiii.) ; he was however imprisoned 
with lions, which he slew unaided, an exploit which was 
reported by the seneschal Maugis to the king. 

Absalon announces he will only bestow his daughter upon 
him who can overcome two marvellous lions (Ixxxvii.). 
Aigres kills the animals (Ixxxviii.), and marries Melia, the 
princess, but his disloyal companion Accars thrusts him 
into a well, and abducts Melia ; she was shortly seized, how- 
ever, by a king Abilaus. Aigres conquered Abilaus and 
took off Melia (xciiii.). Aigres, with his horse Moreau, re- 
turns at length to his father Berinus. 

The latter portion of the romance recounts the robbery of 
the treasury of the emperor (cxiii. etc.), which is a version 
of the Ehampsinitus story in Herodotus (ii. 121). Aigres 

CH. IV.] BERINUS. 349 

cuts off his father's heaxi to prevent his recognition (cxix., 
cxx.), and meeting a knight on his return kills him to 
avoid detection (cxx.). 

The Seven Sages (among whom Cicero) advise that the 
trunk of Berinus should be drawn through Rome (cxxv.). 
Aigres, however, takes down the body to a hermit for se- 
pulture, whom he pays for prayers (cxxxiii.) The emperor 
sends for the Seven Sages, who had failed in the recovery 
of the treasure, and tells them they are not wise (cxxxvii.). 
Aigres however departs and eventually reaches Rome, 
where he espouses Melia in great solemnity. 

The romances of the second class, or those which relate 
to Charlemagne, so closely resemble the fictions concerning 
Arthur and his knights of the Round Table, that the same, 
or nearly the same, observations apply to both. The 
foundations of each are laid from supposed histories : 
Arthur wars against the Saxons, and Charlemagne against 
the Saracens ; both princes are unhapj^y in their families, 
and sometimes unsuccessful in their undertakings. In 
each class of compositions the characters of these sovereigns 
are degraded below their historical level, for the purpose 
of giving greater dignity and relief to their paladins and 
chivalry ; since otherwise the monarchs would have been 
the only heroes, and the different warriors would not have 
appeared in their proper light. But, by lowering as it 
were the sovereign princes, the writers of romance delineated 
the manners of their times, and pleased perhaps those 
haughty barons, who took delight in representations of 
vassals superior in prowess and in power to their lords. 
The authors of the romances concerning Charlemagne 
wrote under considerable disadvantages : the ground had 
been already occupied by their predecessors, and they 
could do little more than copy their pictures of tented 
fields, and their method of dissecting knights and giants. 
On the other hand* circumstances were in some degree 
more favourable to them than to the authors of the fictions 
concerning Arthur and the companions of the Round 
Table. The Saracens were a more romantic people than 
the Saxons ; and tales of eastern fairies and eastern mag- 


nificence offered new pictures to delight and astonish the 
mind. " The knights of Charlemagne," says Sismondi, 
" no longer wandered, like those of the Round Table, 
through gloomy forests, in a country half civilized, and 
which seemed always covered with storms and snow. All 
the softness and perfumes of regions most favoured by 
nature were now at the disposal of romancers ; and an 
acquisition still more precious was the imagination of the 
east, — that imagination so brilliant and various, which 
was employed to give animation to the sombre mythology 
of the north. Magnificent palaces now arose in the desert : 
enchanted gardens or groves, perfumed with orange trees 
and myrtles, bloomed amidst burning sands, or barren 
rocks surrounded by the sea." All these are much less 
agreeable than genuine pictures of life and nature ; but 
they are better, at least, than descriptions of continual 
havoc, and the unprovoked slaughter of giants. Of all 
kinds of warfare the gigantomachia is, in truth, the least 
interesting, as we invariably anticipate what will be the 
final lot of the giant, who, from the unlucky precedent of 
the Titans and Groliah, has constantly fallen luider the arm 
of his adversary. Indeed, in proportion to his bulk and 
stature, his destruction appears always the more easy and 
his fate more certain. Butler pronounces it to be a heavy 
case, that a man should have his brains knocked out for 
no other reason than because he is tall and has large bones ; 
but the case seems still harder, that strength and stature, 
while they provoked aggression, should have been of no 
service in repelling it, and that a giant's power and 
prowess should have proved of no avail except to his 
antagonist. In this respect, however, it must be confessed, 
that the book of nature differs little from the volumes of 
chivalry, since, while the race of mites and moths remain, 
the mammoth and megatherion are swept away. 

^ The following works may be noted in connexion with the subject : — 
Le Origini dell' epopea francese, indagate da Pio Eaina, Firenze, 1884, 
of which a critical account is given by M. G. Paris in Romania, Oct. 
1884. (See note, p. 342, supra). G. Paris, Histoire poetique Charle- 
magne, 1865, etc, A. Pakscher, Zur Kritik und Geschichte des alt- 
franzosiscben Rolandshedes, Berlin, 1885. L. Gautier, Epopees Fran- 
9aises. 1880, etc. 






THE reader, who lias now toiled through the romances 
of the Round Table, and those relatmg to Charlemagne, 
has not yet completed the whole of his labour : 

Alter erit nunc Tiphjs, et altera quae vehat Argo 
Delei,'tos heroas : erunt etiam altera bella. 

ViRG. Eel. 4. 

Had it been my intention, indeed, merely to compose a 
pleasing miscellany, I should not only refrain from analyzing 
any other romances of chivalry, but should even have 
omitted many of which an abstract has been given. But 
the value of a work of the description which I have under- 
taken, consists, in a considerable degree, in its fulness. 
The multipHcity of the productions of any species is evi- 
dence of the kind of literature which was in fashion at the 
time of their composition, and therefore indicates the taste 
of the age. Even the dulness of the fictions of chivalry is, 
in some degree, instructive, as acquainting us with the 
monotonous mode of life which prevailed during the 
periods which gave them birth ; while, at the same time, 
by a comparison of the intellectual powers exhibited in 
romance with the exertions of the same ages in law, theo- 
logy, and other pursuits, we are enabled to form an esti- 
mate of the employment of genius in those distant periods, 
and to behold in what arts and sciences it was most 
successfully displayed. 

While the other European nations were so much occupied 
with romance writing, it was not to be expected that the 
Portuguese and Spaniards should altogether have neglected 


a species of composition so fascinating in itself, and at this, 
time so much in vogue. The subject of Arthur, and the 
topics connected with Charlemagne, had been exhausted^ 
and it was now requisite to find a new chief and a new 
race of heroes. Arthur had been selected as a leader in 
romance, less perhaps from national vanity than from 
being in possession of some traditional glory, and thus 
forming a kind of head and support, by which unity was 
given to the adventures of subordinate knights. Charle- 
magne was naturally adopted by the romance writers of 
the neighbouring country as having many analogies with 
Arthur. In Portugal, however, where we shall find the 
first great romance of the series on which we are now 
entering was formed,^ there seems to have been no prince 
nor leader who was thus clothed with traditional fame» 
Accordingly an imaginary hero was chosen, and, as the 
first romance which was written in the peninsula was pos- 
sessed of great literary merit, it had an overpowering and 
subduing effect on succeeding fablers. In imitation of the 
former author, they continued the family history, supposing, 
perhaps, that the interest which had been already excited 
on the subject, which formed the source of their works, 
would be favourable to their success. This also furnished 
a certain facility of magnifying their heroes, as it was not 
difficult to represent each new descendant as surpassing 
his predecessor. Unfortunately the successive writers of 
romance supposed that what had pleased once must please 
always ; in the same manner that it was long thought 
necessary that an epic writer should have in his poem the 
same number of books as Homer, and should emj)loy the 
same forms of address, comparison, and description. Ac- 
cordingly the heroes of most romances of the peninsula 
are illegitimate ; there are usually two brothers, a Platonist 
and Materialist ; and, in short, a general sameness of cha- 
racter and incident. The opponents of the knights are, 
however, different from those in the romances of Arthur 
or Charlemagne ; they are no longer the Saxons or Saracens, 
but the Turks ; and as the G-reek empire was now trem- 
bhng to its base, many of the scenes of warfare are laid at 

^ See, however, note on p. 354, respecting the authorship of the 

CH. v.] AMADIS DE GAUL. 353 

Constantinople. In some of the concluding romances of 
the series, indeed, happier fictions are introduced, and an 
attempt is made to vary with new incidents, and the 
splendour of eastern enchantments, the perpetual havoc 
which occurs in the preceding fables. But I am, perhaps, 
anticipating too much the reflections of the reader, and 
shall therefore, without farther delay, proceed to 



which has generally been considered as one of the finest 
and most interesting romances of chivalry. Hence, per- 
haps, different nations have anxiously vindicated to them- 
selves the credit of its origin. Lopez de Vega, in his 
Fortunas de Diano, attributes it to a Portuguese lady. On 
the authority of Nicholas Antonio, Warton has assigned 
the composition of Amadis de Gaul to Yasco Lobeira, a 
Portuguese officer, who died at Elvas in 1403, or, according 
to Sismondi,- in 1325. This opinion has been also adopted 
by Mr. Southey, who has entered at considerable length 
into the reasons on which it is grounded. The original 
work he believes to be lost, but he conceives that Amadis 
was first written in the Portuguese language ; and he argues 
that Lobeira was the author, from the concurrent testi- 
mony of almost all Portuguese writers, particularly of 
Gomes Eannes de Zurrara,'^ in his chi'onicle of Don Pedro 
de Menezes, which appeared only half a century after the 
death of Lobeira. He also thinks the Portuguese origin 
of the romance is established from a sonnet by an uncer- 
tain poet, but a contemporary of Lobeira, praising him as 
the author, and from the circumstance that in the Spanish 
version by Montalvo, it is mentioned that the Infant 
Don Alphonso of Portugal had ordered some part of the 
story to be altered. 

The French writers, on the other hand, and particularly 
the Comte de Tressan, in his preface to the Traduction 
libre d' Amadis de Gaule, have insisted that the work (or 
at least the three first of the four books it contains) was 
originally written in French, in the reign of Philip 

^ Los quatro libros del Cavallero Amadis de Gaiila. 
2 De la Literatui-e du midi de I'Europe. 
2 Keeper of the Archives of Tortugai in 1454. 
I. A A 


Augiistus, or one of his predecessors. His arguments rest 
on some vague assertions in old French manuscripts, that 
Amadis had been at one time extant, and on the similarity 
of the manners, and even incidents, described in Amadis, 
"vvith those of Tristan and Lancelot, which are avowedly- 
French : he thinks it also improbable that while such 
hatred subsisted between the French and Sj)aniards, an 
author of the latter nation should Imve chosen a Gallic 
knight for liis favourite hero ; but this argument strikes 
only against a Spanish and not a Portuguese original. To 
the reasons of Tressan, however, may be added the tes- 
timony of one Portuguese poet, Cardoso, who says that 
Lobeira translated Amadis from the French by order of 
the Infant Don Pedro, son of Joan First ; ^ and also the 

' It is worthy of notice that towards the end of the third chapter, 
Lobeira writes : — " The author ceaseth to speak of this, and returneth 
to the child whom Gandales brought up." Ticknor, however, attaches 
little weight to the arguments against Lobeira's authorship. " The 
Portuguese original," he says, " can no longer be found. At the end 
of the sixteenth century, we are assured it was extant in manuscript in 
the archives of the Dukes of Aveiro at Lisbon ; and the same assertion 
is renewed on good authority about the year 1750. From this time, 
however, w^e lose all trace of it ; and the most careful inquiries render 
it probable that this curious manuscript, about which there has been so 
much discussion, perished in the terrible earthquake and conflagration 
of 1755, when the palace occupied by the ducal family of Aveiro was 
destroyed with all its precious contents." The fact that the original 
manuscript of Amadis de Gaula " was in the Aveiro collection is stated 
by Ferreira, Poemas Lusitanos, where is the sonnet, No. 33 ... in 
honour of Lobeira, which Southey, in his preface to his Amadis of 
Gaul, erroneously attributes to the Infante Antonio of Portugal, and 
thus would make it of consequence in the present discussion. Nic 
Antonio," a writer of by no means unimpeachable accuracy, " who 
leaves no doubt as to the authorship of the sonnet in question, i-efers to 
the same note in Ferreira to prove the deposit of the manuscript of the 
Amadis ; so that the two constitute only one authority, and not two 
authorities as Southey supposes. (Bib, Vetus, lib. viii. cap. vii. sect. 
291.) Barboso is more distinct. (Bib. Lusitana, tom. iii., p. 775.) He 
says, ' original se conservava em casa dos Excellentissimos Duques 
de Aveiro.' But there is a careful summing up of the matter in 
Clemencin's notes to Don Quixote (tom. i., pp. 105, 106)." That the work, 
at least in the form in which it has been known since the middle of the 
fourteenth century, belongs to Spain seems to be shown almost to cer- 
tainty by Dr. Braunfels in his Kritischer Versuch iiber den Roman 
Amadis von Gallien, Leip., 1876. See also E, Baret, De I'Amadis de 
Gaule et de son influence sur les moeurs et la litterature, etc. Paris, 1853. 

CH. v.] AMADIS DE GAUL. 355 

assertion of D'Herberay, a translator of Amadis from the 
Spanish into French, about the middle of the 16th 
century, who declares that he had seen fragments of a MS. 
in the Picard language, which seemed to be the original of 
Amadis de Gaul: — " J'en ay trouvc encore quelque reste 
d'un viel livre, escrit a la main, en langage Picard, sur 
lesquel J'estime que les Espagnols ont fait leur traduction, 
non pas du tout suyvant le vrai original comme Ton 
pourra veoir par cestuy, car ils en ont obmis en aucuns 
endroits et augmentc aux autres." The testimony of Ber- 
nardo Tasso, author of the Amadigi, a j^oem taken from the 
romance, is also against a peninsular origin. To his evi- 
dence considerable weight is due, as he lived at a j^eriod of 
no great distance from the death of Lobeira, and from 
being engaged in a poem on the subject of Amadis, he 
would naturally be accurate and industrious in his re- 
searches. Now the Italian bard is decidedly of opinion, 
that the romance of Amadis has been taken from some 
ancient English or Breton history. " Non e duhbio,'' (savs 
he in one of his letters to Girolamo Euscelli,) "die lo 
scrittore di questa leggiadra e vaga invenzione I'ha in parte 
cavata da qualche istoria di Bertagna, e poi abbelitola e 
rendutala a quella vaghezza che il mondo cosi diletta ; " (vol. 
ii., let. 166,) and again, " Gaula in lingua Inglese dalla quale 
e cavata quest' Istoria vuol dir Francia," (vol. ii. let. 93). 

It also appears from various passages of the letters of 
B. Tasso, that as much doubt and misapprehension existed 
with regard to the country of the hero as concerning the 
original author of the romance. He says that the refab- 
ricafor of the work from the British history thought that 
Gaul meant Wales, and that he had erroneously styled his 
hero Amadis of Gaul, " jDer non avere inteso quel vocabulo 
Gaules, il qual nella lingua Inglese vuol dir Gallia." But 
Gaules signifying Gallia, or France, Tasso concludes that 
France was the country of Amadis ; he therefore resolves 
to call his poem Amadigi di Francia, and expresses his con- 
fidence that the reasons he has assigned will be sufficient, 
" a divellere questo invecchiato abuso dall opinion degli 
uomini." This general opinion, that Wales was the country 
of Amadis, was not an unnatural one, since Gaules and 
Gaula, in old English, was the name for Wales as well as 


France : — " I say Grallia and Gaul — Frencli and Welsh — 
sonl-cnrer and body-curer," exclaims the host in the Merry 
Wives of Windsor, (act. iii. scene i.) while addressing the 
French doctor and the Welsh parson. There are also 
several circumstances in the romance itself, which might 
have led to the mistake. Thus Amadis proceeding from 
Gaul to the court of the king of England, which was then 
held at Vindilisora (Windsor) sails to a goodly city in 
Great Britain, called Brestoya (Bristol,) a strange port to 
land at in crossing from France to England, but a very 
convenient harbour for one proceeding from South Wales 
to Windsor. On the whole, however, Tasso seems right 
in supposing that by Gaula the author of Amadis meant 
France ; for we are told in the course of the work, that 
Perion, king of Gaul, and father of Amadis, summons to 
a council the bishops and lords of his kingdom, command- 
ing them to bring the most celebrated clerks in their 
respective districts, and two members of the council were 
in consequence attended by Clerk Ungan of Picardy, and 
Alberto of Champagne.^ 

Though the Spaniards do not lay any claim to the 
original composition of this romance, nor to its hero as 
their countryman, the most ancient impression of it now 
extant is in their language, and was printed in 1526, at 
Seville. This work was compiled from detached Spanish 
fragments, which had af)peared in the time of Ferdinand 
and Isabella. It was subsequently revised and compared 
with the old manuscript fragments by Garcias Ordognez 
Montalvo, who at length published an amended edition in 
1547, at Salamanca.^ From the prior edition of 1526, D'Her- 

^ Dr. Braunfels, however (op. cit. p. 164, etc.), adduces various points, 
of internal evidence in favour of Wales. 

2 Note from Clemencin's edition of "Don Quixote" (torn. i. p. 107)^ 
quoted by Ticknor. There is a difficulty about the original composition 
and construction of the Amadis of which I was not aware when the first 
edition of this History was published (1849), and which I will now 
(1858) explain as well as I can, chiefly from the notes of Gayangos to 
his translation (tom. i. pp. 520-522), and from his Discurso Preliminar 
to the fortieth volume of the Biblioteca de Autores Espaiioles, which 
contains the Amadis and Esplandian. 

The difficulty in question arises, I think, in a great degree from the 
circumstance that the preface of Montalvo is given differently in the 
different early editions of the Amadis, and would lead to different in> 

CH. v.] AMADIS DE GAUL. 357 

beiTV formed his translation of the four books of Amadis, de- 
dicated to Francis I., and printed 1540. To these he added 
other four books, containing the exj^loils of the descendants 
of Amadis, which were drawn from Spanish originals : the 
family history was subsequently carried to the twenty- 
fourtli book by translators who also wrought from Spanish 
originals, but sometimes added interpolations of their 
own ; and the whole received the name of Amadis de Gaul, 
w^hicli was the title of all the peninsular prototypes. The 
first books, which relate peculiarly to the exploits of 
Amadis, were compressed by the Count de Tressan, in his 
free translation, into two volumes 12mo. His labour was 
entirely useless, as he has, in a great measure, changed the 
incidents of the romance, and hid the genuine manners 
^nd feelings of chivalry under the varnish of French 
seatiment. A late version by Mr. Southey is greatly pre- 
ferable, as the events are there accurately related, and the 
manners faithfully observed. 

ferences. In tlie one by Cromberger, 1520, which I have never seen, 
but which is cited by Gayangos, we are told of Montalvo, ••(jue en su 
tienipo solo se conocian fres libros del Amadis, y quel el anadio, tras- 
ladij y enniendu el quarto." The same fact of its being originally known 
in thrrc books is set forth in some of the poems in Baena's •' Cancionero," 
published ISol, and especially in a poem by Pedro Ferrus, who, perhaps, 
wrote as early as 1379, but lived a good deal later. From these and 
other circumstances of less consequence, Gayangos infers that there 
was current in Spain an Amadis in three books before Lobeira prepared 
his version of the story, which can. he thinks, hardly have been much 
before 1390, as the Infante Alfonso, who induced him to modify the 
story of Briolania, was not born till 1370. But who can have written 
these three books, if they existed so early, or in what language they 
were written, is not even to be conjectured. Lobeira may have been 
their author as early as 1350 or 1370, and have altered the story of 
Briolania afterwards as late as 1390 to please the prince, as he says he 
did, and so the distinct and clear averment of Eannes de Zurara stand 
untouched. A.t any rate I do not see how we can get behind his tes- 
timony that Lobeira was the author, or behind Montalvo's testimony 
that the Amadis we now possesss was a translation made by him, with 
alterations and improvements. 

An English translation by Thomas Paynel from the French was pub- 
lished in 1567 with the title, '' The most excellent and pleasaunt Booke, 
entituled : The treasurie of Amadis of Fraunce : Conteyning eloquente 
orations, pythie Epistles, learned Letters, and fervent Complayntes, 
•etc." An Italian translation appeared in 1546, and suggested the 
Amadigi di Francia of Bernardo Tasso. Du Verdier wrote a satire 
upon the Amadis, entitled the Chevalier Hypocondriaque. 


The era of the exploits of Amadis is prior to the age of 
Arthur or Charlemagne, and he is the most ancient as. 
well as the most fabulous of all heroes of chivalry. He is 
said in the romance to have been the illegitimate offspring 
of Perion, king of Gaul, and Elisena, princess of Britany. 
The mother, to conceal her shame, exposed the infant^ 
soon after his birth, in a cradle, which was committed to 
the sea. He was picked up by a knight of Scotland, who 
was returning from Britany to his own country, and who- 
reared him under the name of Child of the Sea. When 
twelve years of age he was sent to be educated at the court 
of the king of Scotland. There a mutual attachment was. 
formed between him and Oriana, who was daughter of 
Lisuarte, king of England, but had been sent to Scotland 
on account of the commotions in her own country. After 
Amadis had received the honour of knighthood, he pro- 
ceeded to the succour of Perion, king of Gaul, who by this, 
time had espoused Elisena, and had become the father of 
another son, named Galaor. This second child had been 
stolen by a giant, who wished to educate him according to 
his own system ; but Perion was consoled for the loss by 
the recognition of Amadis, who was discovered to be his 
son by means of a ring, which had been placed on his 
finger when he was exposed. His parents derived the 
greater satisfaction from this acknowledgment, as Amadis 
had already proved his valour by the overthrow of the 
king of Ireland, who had invaded Gaul, — an exploit simi- 
lar to that with which it may be recollected Tristan began 
his career. 

It is impossible to give any account of the adventures of 
Amadis after his return to England, though they only 
divide the romance with those of his brother Galaor— the 
wars of extermination he carried on against giants — the 
assistance he afforded to Lisuarte against the usurper 
Barsinian and the enchanter Arcalaus — his long retirement 
under the name of Beltenebros to a hermitage, after re- 
ceiving a cruel letter from his mistress Oriana, one of the- 
chief points of Don Quixote's fantastic imitation — the- 
battles he fought, after quitting this abode, against Cildadan, 
king of Ireland — the defeat of a hundred knights, by whom. 
Lisuarte had been attacked ; and, finallv, his innumerable 

CH. v.] AMADIS DE GAUL. 359 

exploits in Germany and in Turkey, when the jealousy and 
suspicion of Lisuarte, excited by evil counsellors, had forced 
him to leave Oriana and the court of England. 

Amadis returned, however, in sufficient time to rescue 
his beloved princess from the power of the Romans, to 
whose ambassadors LisTiarte had given her up, to be es- 
poused by the emperor's brother. Their fleet having been 
intercepted by Amadis, and totally defeated, Oriana was 
conveyed to the Firm Island by her lover. A long war 
was then carried on between Lisuarte and Amadis, in which 
the former was worsted ; and when weakened by two 
dreadful battles, he was unexpectedly attacked by an old 
enemy, Aravigo, who was urged on by the enchanter 
Arcalaus. When in this dilemma, he was saved by the 
generosity of Amadis, who having turned to his assistance 
the arms he had lately employed against him, defeated 
his enemies, slew Aravigo, and took Arcalaus prisoner. 
On account of this conduct, and a discovery that the de- 
lights of matrimony had been anticipated, Lisuarte con- 
sented to the formal union of his daughter with Amadis. 
Their nuptials were celebrated on the Firm Island, and 
Oriana terminated the wonderful enchantments of that 
spot, by entering the magic apartment, which could only 
be approached by the fairest and most faithful woman in 
the world. 

The notion of a chamber, a tower, or island, accessible 
only to a certain hero or beauty, and which occiu's in 
many of the subsequent books of Amadis, is evidently 
derived from oriental fiction, which, as naturally to be ex- 
pected, abounds more in the romances of the peninsula, 
than in those of France or England. We are told in an 
eastern story, that Abdalmalek, fifth caliph of the Ommi- 
ades, and one of the first who invaded Spain, arrived at a 
castle erected by the fairies, on one of the most remote 
mountains in Spain. The gate was secured, not by a lock, 
but by a dragon's tooth, and over it was an inscription, which 
imported that it was accessible to none but Abdalmalek. 

But while eastern fictions have supplied some magical 
adventures, especially towards the conclusion of the work, 
the earlier and greater part of Amadis de Gaul is occupied 
with combats, which are generally described with much 


spirit, yet are tiresome by frequent re j)etition ; and at length 
scarcely interest us, as we become almost certain of the 
success of tlie liero from the frequent recurrence of victory. 

Though the story does not lead us, like many other 
romances, through the adventures of a multitude of knights, 
changing without method from one to another, it suspends 
our attention between the exploits of Amadis and those of 
his brother Galaor. 

Amadis excels the French romances of chivalry in the 
delineation of character. There is much sweetness in the 
account of the infancy and boyhood of the Child of the 
Sea, and the early attachment betwixt him and Oriana. 
Tliis princess, however, proves to be of weak intellect and 
peevish disposition, and is frequently disquieted with ill- 
founded jealousy. Amadis is an interesting character, and 
is well distinguished from his brother Galaor ; they are 
equally valiant, but the elder wants the gaiety of the 
younger; he also remains faithfully attached to one 
mistress, while G-alaor is constantly changing the object 
of his affections, a fraternal contrast which has been ex- 
hibited in most of the Spanish romances relating to the 
descendants of Amadis. 

In the morals displayed, and in the general conduct of 
the incidents, these continuations are much inferior to the 
work which they follow, but they become, as they advance, 
more sj^lendid in their decorations, and more imposing in 
their machinery. The XJrganda of the original Amadis, 
as Mr. Southey remarks, is a true fairy, like Morgaine le 
Fay, and the Lady of the Lake ; but the Urganda, who, in 
the subsequent books of Amadis, sails about in the Green 
Serpent, is an enchantress of a more formidable description, 
and her rivals, Zerfea and Melia, are as tremendous as the 
Medea of classical mythology. 

Of the series of fictions, this first romance is the 

Exploits of Esplandian,^ 
the son of Amadis, the greater part of which is the 

' Quinto libro d' Amadis de Gaula, o las Sergas dell cavallero Esplan- 
dian hijo d' Amadis de Gaula. — Seville, 1542. Saragossa, 1587. Sergas 
is probably a corruption of the plural of the Greek word Ergon (opus), 
corresponding to hecJios in Spanish. — Dunlop. 

" The oldest edition of the Esplandian now known to exist was 


work of Montalvo, the Spanish translator of Amadis. In 
order to shelter himself under a i)opular name, the author 
called it the fifth book of Amadis ; on which it thus be- 
came the burden and excrescence. This example was 
imitated by the followers of Montalvo — the history of 
Lisuarte formed the seventh and eighth books, and that 
of Amadis of Greece the ninth and tenth of Amadis de 
Gaul. The Spanish romancers thus proceeded from gene- 
ration to generation ; and, in order to give some plausibility 
to the title they bestowed, they kept Amadis himself alive, 
who thus became the perennial prop of his otherwise 
insupportable descendants. 

None of the progeny degenerated more from the merits 
of the parent than his immediate successor Esplandian; 
and Cervantes, who tolerated Amadis de Gaul as the first 
and liest of the kind, hath most justly decreed, " that the 
excellence of the father should not avail the son, but that 
he should be thrown into the court to give a beginning to 
the bonfire." 

The part of Amadis de Gaul, however, which contains an 
account of the infancy of Esplandian, is one of the most beau- 
tiful portions of that romance. Oriana having given birth 
to a son, the fruit of her stolen interviews with Amadis, de- 
livered the child to her confidants, that he might be con- 
veyed to a remote part of the country for the sake of con- 
cealment. Those to whom the infant was entrusted, in 
order to travel more privately, struck into a forest. A 
lioness, which resided in this quarter, made free to carry 
off the child as provender for her whelps. Unfortunately 
for them she had a respectable hermit for a neighbour, 
who met and rebuked her before she reached the den with 
her prey. She was quite disconcerted at being thus un- 
expectedly caught, and at length, by her good neighbour's 
seasonable remonstrances, was brought to a better way of 
thinking, and was induced to undertake the office of nurse 
to the child, who was now conveyed to the hermitage. 
There Esplandian was accordingly suckled with much 
blandishment by the reformed lioness, and when she went 
to prowl, her place was supplied by an ewe and a she-goat. 

printed in 1521, and five others appeared before the end of the century, 
so that it seems to have enjoyed its full share of popular favour." — 


Other heroes of chivahy, it may be recollected, were 
fostered in a similar manner ; fictions, no doubt, suggested 
by the classical fable of Romulus and Remus. 

As Esplandian grew up, the lioness acted as a dry 
nurse ; she guarded him when he walked out from the 
hermitage, and afterwards accompanied him in the chase. 

One day King Lisuarte, in the course of his field sports, 
entered the forest where Esplandian was bred up by the 
hermit and the motherly lioness, and perceived the boy 
leading in a leash this animal, which he loosed, when a 
stag was started, and hallooed her to the prey. When the 
game was overtaken, the lioness and two spaniels had 
their shares of the spoil. The king was surprised at 
beholding this singular group, and EsjDlandian being 
carried to the verge of the forest, where the queen had 
pitched her pavilion, was recognised by Oriana as her son, 
by means of certain characters on his breast. In the sub- 
sequent romances, the descendants of Esplandian are 
usually discovered by some inscription of this nature, or 
other personal mark, as a cross or flaming sword, an 
awkward alteration on the G-reek romances, where children 
are identified by certain articles of apparel or decoration 
which they wore at the time of their loss or exposure. 

Esplandian was brought up at the court of King 
Lisuarte, and was in due time admitted into the order of 
knighthood. The romance, which is appropriated to his 
exploits, commences immediately after this inauguration. 
During a sleep, into which he fell soon after the ceremony, 
he was carried, with his squire, by means of Urganda the 
Unknown, to that incomprehensible machine the Ship of 
the great Serpent, wherein he was conveyed to the foot of 
a castle, the enchantments of which he was destined to 

Thence, under the name of the Black Knight (an appel- 
lation bestowed from the colour of his armour,) he sailed 
to the Forbidden Mountain, a stronghold on the confines 
of Turkey and Grreece, and which, in this romance, is the 
chief theatre of exploits. Esplandian took jDossession of 
it in behalf of the G-reek emperor, having slain its former 
gigantic and heathenish proprietors. He did not, however, 
long occupy this fortress in quiet, as it was soon besieged 


by Arniato. the soldaii of the Turks, with a threat army. 
But Esplaudian had now additional motives to exert him- 
self in behalf of the Greek emperor. Leouorina, the 
emperor's dau^^hter, and our knight, thou^^h they had 
never met, had become mutually enamoured, and main- 
tain, during the romance, an interchange of amatory 
embassies. Armato, instead of recovering possession of 
the Forbidden Mountain, was defeated and made prisoner. 
Encouraged by this success, Esplandian carried the war 
into the heart of Turkey, and took the principal city. 
Hearing, however, that his mistress was offended at his 
neglect in not having come to visit her, he departed for 
Constantinople ; and on the night of his arrival was 
privately conveyed into her apartment in a cedar coffer, of 
which he had requested her acceptance. 

On his return the war was prosecuted against the Turks 
with new vigour. The Christians were assisted by TJr- 
ganda, who, in all his adventures, had highly favoured 
Amadis, and extends her protection to his latest posterity. 
On the other hand, the infidels were supported by the en- 
chantress Melia, the sister of Armato. That soldan having 
effected his escape from confinement on the back of a. 
di'agon, which had been provided by his sister, speedily 
raised an immense army, and besieged Constantinople. 
He was aided by all the eastern caliphs and soldans, and 
especially by an Amazonian c^ueen, who brought, as her 
contingent, a flight of fifty prime griffins, well ec^uipped, 
which flew over the bulwarks of the city, and committed 
internal devastations. The Greeks, on their part, were 
assisted by Amadis de Gaul and the western potentates. 
After a protracted warfare, it was agreed that the contest 
should be settled by a double combat. Amadis and his 
son Esplandian were selected on the one side ; the 
Amazonian queen and a choice soldan on the other. The 
latter were worsted, yet, notwithstanding the agreement, 
the Paynim army attacked the Christians, but was totally 
defeated and expelled the Greek dominions. The emperor 
then resigned his kingdom in favour of Esplandian, who 
espoused Leonorina, daughter of the abdicated monarch. 

Now, after a time, Urganda by her great knowledge 
discovered that Amadis, Galaor, Esplandian, and all her 


favourite kniglits, were in a short time to pay the debt of 
natui'e. She therefore sent for them to the Firm Island, 
and informed them that the only way to escape mortality, 
was to remain in the dormant state into which she could 
throw them, till disenchanted by Lisuarte, son of Esplan- 
dian, acquiring possession of a certain magic sword, when 
they would all spring to life with renovated vigour. 

Thus, although new heroes are always rising on the 
stage, the readei' never gets free of the old ones. They 
subsist through the whole romance of 

Lisuarte of Greece,^ 

son of Esplandian aud Leonorina, who was destined to 
recall them to their former inquietude. His exploits 
occupy the 7th and 8th books of Amadis, which are said 
to have been written b}^ Juan Diaz, bachelor of canon law. 
Perion, who was son of Amadis de Gaul and Oriana, and 
born after their legal union, is the second character in this 
romance, which commences with the account of a voyage 
undertaken by Perion, from England to Ireland, in order 
to be dubbed a knight by the king of the latter country. 
On his way he is separated from his followers by a lady 
cruising in a boat managed by four apes, who insist that 
he should accompany their mistress, for the fulfilment of 
a great emprise. His attendants proceed to Constanti- 
nople, where they report his adventure, and Lisuarte, in 
consequence, sets out in quest of his kinsman Perion. 
This prince had meanwhile arrived in Trebizond, and fallen 
in love with one of the emperor's daughters ; he had not, 
however, leisure to prosecute his suit, as She of the Apes 
hurries him away to accomplish the enterprise he had 

Soon after his departure, Lisuarte also arrived in Trebi- 
zond, and fell in love with Onoloria, the emperor's other 
daughter : but while enjoying himself in the society of his 
mistress, a lady of gigantic stature came to court, and 
asked from Lisuarte a gift. This, as usual, was promised 

^ Chronica de los faraosos esforcados cavalleros Lisuarte de Grecia, 
hijo d'Esplandian ; y de Ferion de Gaul, hijo d'Amadis de Gaula. — 
Seville, 1525, folio. 


without any inquiries as to its nature, and it proved to be 
the attendance of Li su arte for a twelvemonth, wherever 
she chose to demand. Now this lady was in the interest 
of the pagans, and had fallen on this device to remove 
Lisuarte, who was the chief support of the Grecian throne. 
The emperor of Trebizond was informed of her stratagem 
soon after the departure of Lisuarte, by a letter which was 
closed with sixty-seven seals, and which also announced 
that Constantinople was about to be besieged by Armato, 
the Turkish soldan, who had placed himself at the head of 
a league of sixty -seven j^rinces — a coalition ingeniously 
denoted by the number of seals. 

Lisuarte, meanwhile, was delivered in charge to the 
king of the G-iants' Isle, whose daughter Gradaffile fell in 
love with the prisoner, procured his escape, and followed 
him to Constantinople. There Lisuarte performed many 
feats of valour in combating the j^agan enemies by whom 
the city was now besieged, and was soon assisted in the 
defence by Perion, who arrived in Greece after having 
accomplished the enterprise in which he had been so long 
engaged. At length Lisuarte having obtained possession 
of the fatal sword, Amadis de Gaul, Esplandian, and the 
Grecian princes burst the enchantment into which they 
had been lulled by Urganda, in the Firm Island. The 
city being relieved by the return of these potent and 
refreshed auxiliaries, Lisuarte set out for Trebizond, but,, 
on his way thither, met with various adventures which 
detained him. Perion arrived before him, but left Trebi- 
zond for a time, at the request of the duchess of Austria, 
whom he restored to her dominions, and received from her 
the highest reward she could bestow. In this romance 
Lisuarte is the Amadis, or constant lover, Perion, the 
Galaor, or general lover. Perion, however, differs from 
his prototype in this, that Galaor was altogether undis- 
tinguishing in his amours, and had no preference for any 
mistress ; whereas Perion, though guilty of occasional in- 
fidelities, still retains the first place in his affections for 
the princess of Trebizond. 

At length Perion and Lisuarte meet at the palace of 
of their mistresses, who, as usual, admit their lovers to 
the privileges, before they have possessed the characters. 


of Imsbands. It afterwards occurred to them to send 
ambassadors to Esplandian and Amadis de Gaul, to talk 
of their nuptials : but, meanwhile, the emperor of Trebi- 
zond and Perion were carried off by pagan wiles, dui'ing a 
hunting match ; and Lisuarte having gone in quest of 
them, came to the spot where they were detained, and was 
imprisoned in the same confinement. 

While her lover Lisuarte thus remained in durance, the 
princess of Trebizond gave birth to a son, afterwards 
known bv the name of 

Amadis of Greece,^ 

whose adventures, blended with those of his sempiternal 
ancestry, form the ninth book of the family history, which 
is feigned, in the commencement of the second part, to 
have been imitated in Latin from the Greek, and thence 
translated into the Romance language : " Sacada de Griego 
in Latin, y de Latin en romance, segun lo escrivio el gran 
sabio Alquife en las magicas." 

The imprudent anticipation of Onoloria rendered con- 
cealment necessary, and, during the baj)tism of her infant, 
which was performed at a retired fountain, he was carried 
off by corsairs, and sold by them to the Moorish king of 
Saba (Sheva). It has been remarked, that the lineage of 
Amadis generally had from infancy some striking personal 
peculiarity, which, in the untoward circumstances of their 
i3irth and childhood, was essential to a future acknow- 
ledgment by their parents. Amadis of Greece was dis- 
tinguishable by the representation of a sword on his breast. 
Hence, when, at the age of fourteen, he obtained some 
order of chivalry from the king of Saba, he assumed the 
name of the Knight of the Flaming Sword. A black 
courtier being jealous of the favour which He of the 
Flaming Sword enjoyed with the king, accused him to 
his master of a criminal intrigue with the queen. Amadis 
was obliged privately to escape from the wrath of the in- 
censed monarch, and thus at an early age enters on the 
career of adventure. 

^ Amadis de Grecia hijo de Don Lisuarte. Burgos, 1535. 


The exploits in tliis romance commence, as they did 
in that of Esplandian, at the Forbidden Mountain. 
Amadis, who was yet an obdurate heathen, defeated and 
expelled the Christian possessors who held it for the 
Greeks, and aftei-wards defended it in single combat 
against the Emperor Esplandian himself, who came in 
2>erson to recover that important citadel. After this he 
fell in with the king of Sicily ; their acquaintance com- 
menced with a combat, but Amadis subsequently aided 
him in various enterprises, to which he was stimulated by 
the passion he had conceived for this monarch's daughter. 

In the course of his navigation to Sicily, Amadis arrived 
at an island where he disenchanted the emperor of Trebi- 
zond, Lisuarte, Perion, and G-radaffile. These princes, and 
their female companion Gradaffile, as was mentioned in 
the end of the last romance, had been carried off by pagan 
stratagems, and were lying in the dormant state into 
which they had been lulled by the sorcery of a pagan 
princess, in the same manner, though with different views, 
that their ancestors had been put to rest by Urganda. 
"When these heroes were completely roused, Amadis de 
Gaul having set out in quest of adventures, met with the 
queen of Saba, who was scouring the seas in search of a 
champion to defend her against the false charge of conjugal 
infidelity. Amadis espoused her quarrel, and having 
arrived in Saba, overthrew her accuser, and established to 
the satisfaction of the king the innocence of his wife, and 
his Eleve of the Flaming Sword. 

After the account of this exploit, a considerable portion 
of the romance is occupied with the unremitting pursuit, 
by Amadis of Greece, of a knight whom he erroneously 
imagined to be in love with the princess of Sicily, because 
he overheard him reciting amorous verses. He long j^ur- 
sued liim with unabating animosity, and met with many 
adventures during his chase ; but was at length undeceived 
at a personal interview, at which he seems to have learned, 
for the first time, that there could be other subjects of 
amatory verses besides the 2)rincess of Sicily. 

"Wliile Amadis was thus occupied, his father Lisuarte 
had returned to Trebizond, and had formally requested 
the hand of Onoloria. Unfortimately for his jiretensions, 


Zario, sultan of Babylon, had become enamoured of this 
princess in a dream, and had arrived at Trebizond, accom- 
panied by his sister Abra, to demand her in marriage. 
His propositions were much relished by the emj^eror, but, 
being of course opposed by Lisuarte, the sultan resorted 
to warlike measures to obtain possession of Onoloria ; he 
accordingly besieged Trebizond, but the champions he 
selected to decide his pretensions were defeated by G-radaf- 
file, who appeared in the disguise of a knight. The sultan 
afterwards forcibly carried off the object of his jDassion, 
but his fleet was encountered by Amadis de Gaul, who was 
sailing to the relief of Trebizond. Onoloria was rescued^ 
and the sultan himself was slain. 

Abra, his sister, succeeded to the throne of Babylon. 
This princess, when she accompanied her brother to Trebi- 
zond, had become enamoured of Lisuarte: her suit had 
been rejected, and the pangs of ill-requited affection, added 
to the desire of avenging the death of her brother, induced 
her to raise up knights in all parts of the world to attempt 
the destruction of Lisuarte. One of her damsels, while on 
this quest, met with Amadis of Greece, and made him 
promise to grant her mistress the head of Lisuarte as a. 
gift. Hence, on the arrival of Amadis at Trebizond, there 
was a dreadful combat between the father and son, which 
must have terminated fatally to one or other, had it not 
been broken off by the appearance of Urganda, who now 
revealed that Amadis was the offspring of Lisuarte. 

This, however, was but an incidental exploit on the part 
of Amadis ; his attention had lately been engrossed by 
objects different from those by which it had been formerly 
absorbed. Niquea, the daughter of an eastern soldan, had 
fallen in love with Amadis by report, and had already 
despatched conciliatory messages, and sent a gift of her 
portrait by a favourite dwarf. Like the princess in the 
Persian Tales, Niquea was of such resplendent beauty, 
that all who beheld her died, or at least were deprived of 
reason. She was in consequence shut up by her father in 
an almost inaccessible tower, to which her family alone 
had admittance ; and afterwards, to preserve her from the 
passion of her brother Anastarax, this prince was enclosed 
by the magician Zirfea in a magic palace, surrounded by 


impassable flames. The view of the portrait of this beauty 
overcame the fidelity which Amadis had hitherto j^reserved 
to the princess of Sicily. lu order to obtain access to his 
new mistress, Amadis, soon after the period of his late 
combat with Lisiiarte, so arranged matters that he was 
sold, in the disguise of a female slave, to her father the 
soldan ; he thus obtained admittance to his daughter, and, 
after a promise of marriage, was received by her in the 
character of a husband. 

Meanwhile, Abra being disappointed in the issue of the 
combat between Amadis and Lisuarte, assembled a great 
army, and led it against Trebizond. Her forces were 
totally defeated, but Onoloria dying about this time, 
Lisuarte, at the persuasion of Gradaffile, finally agreed to 
espouse the Babylonian queen. 

The situation of Niquea now requiring retirement from 
a father's observation, she eloped with Amadis, and soon 
after arrived with him at Trebizond, where she was 
solemnly espoused, and gave birth to a son, named Florisel 
de Niquea. 

That part of the family history which relates particu- 
larly to the exploits of Amadis of Greece, concludes, like 
the romance of Esplandian, with the enchantment of all 
the Greek heroes and princesses by Zirfea, in the Tower of 
the Universe, in order that they might evade the period 
appointed for their decease. There everything that passed 
in the universe was magically exhibited ; a display which 
this assembly, while seated in easy chairs, was destined to 
contemplate at leisure for the ensuing century. 

This romance of Amadis of Greece, and all its succes- 
sors, have suffered the severest censure from Cervantes. 
" Tlie next, said the barber, is Amadis of Greece, yea, and 
all these on this side are of the lineage of Amadis. Then 
into the yard with them all, quoth the priest, for rather 
than not burn the queen Pintiquinestra, and the shepherd 
Darinel, with his eclogues, and the devilish intricate dis- 
courses of its author, I would burn the father who begot 
me, did I meet him in the garb of a knight errant." It is 
in the 10th book of Amadis de Gaul, which is feigned to 
have been written by Cirfea, queen of the Argives, and 
which chiefly contains the adventures of 

I. B B 


Florisel de Niqtjea,* 

son of Amadis of Greece and Niqnea, that the character of 
Darinel, which seems so strongly to have excited the rage 
of Cervantes, is exhibited. This shepherd is a new cha- 
racter in romance, being an amorous pastoral buffoon, who 
is in love with Sylvia, the heroine of the work. Sylvia was 
the fruit of one of the stolen interviews of Lisuarte and 
Onoloria ; she of course was removed from her parents in 
her infancy, and had been educated in the vicinity of 
Alexandria. As she grew up she was beloved by Darinel, 
a neighbouring swain ; but as the fair one exercised un- 
usual rigour towards her lover, he resolved to expose him- 
seK to perish on the top of the highest mountain in the 
empire of Babylon. In this region he met with Florisel, 
who was at that time residing at the Babylonish court. To 
this prince, Darinel gave such an animated description of 
the beauty of Sylvia, that he disguised himself as a shep- 
herd, and prevailed on Darinel to conduct him to her 
abode. Sylvia was as unrelenting to the pretended as she 
had been to the real shepherd; but, on hearing from 
Florisel an account of the enchantment of Anastarax, who 
was still enclosed in his fiery palace, she became enamoured 
of that prince, and persuaded Florisel, and also Darinel, 
(who had for a time relinquished his scheme of exposure 
on the top of the highest mountain of Babylon,) to set out 
with her to attempt his deliverance. They departed to- 
gether, but having arrived at the spot, they understood 
that this adventure was reserved for Alastraxare, an Ama- 
zon, who was the fruit of an amour between the queen of 
Caucasus and Amadis of Greece. The achievements of 
Alastraxare occupy a considerable part of the romance ; 
and in their search for this heroine, the pastoral party 
met with many adventures, of which the chief is that of 
Florisel with Arlanda, princess of Thrace, who had fallen 
in love with him by report, followed him in his travels, 
and, finally, contrived to gratify her passion, by coming to 
him in the dusk, disguised in the clothes of Sylvia. 

1 El deceno libro de Amadis, que es el cronica de Don Florisel de 
Niquea, hijo de Amadis de Grecia. — Valladolid, 1532. 


At lengftli Sylvia was separated from Florisel and Dari- 
nel duriiii? a tempest, and returned to the flaming prison, 
or hell, as it is called, of Anastarax. There she met Alas- 
traxare, and their united efforts accomplished the disen- 
chantment. Nearly at the same time there arrived at this 
spot a number of the Greek princes, who were travelling to 
the Tower of the Universe, to attempt the deliverance of 
their kindred. Sylvia was then discovered to be the 
daughter of Lisuarte, and was soon after united to her be- 
loved Anastarax. 

Meanwhile Florisel and Darinel had been driven to the 
coast of Apolonia, where Florisel, forgetting Sylvia, be- 
came enamoured of Helena, princess of that country, but 
was soon forced to leave his new mistress, and, during his 
absence, accomjjlished the deliverance of his kindi-ed ; an 
adventure, the completion of which had all along been re- 
served for him. 

On his way back to Aj^olonia he landed at Colchos, 
where he met with Alastraxare. Falanges, a G-reek knight, 
and the constant companion of Florisel in his expeditions, 
fell in love with and finally espoused this Amazon. Flori- 
sel, on his arrival in Apolonia, found his mistress, Helena, 
on the eve of a marriage with the prince of Gaul, an infi- 
delity to which she had been constrained by her father ; 
but Florisel interrupted the marriage ceremony, by carry- 
ing off the bride. This rape of the second Helen, as she 
is termed, produced a great war. The forces of all the 
potentates of the west of Euroj^e laid siege to Constanti- 
nople, and defeated the Greek army, chiefly by aid of the 
Russians. The savage monarch of that j^eople, however, 
offended that his assistance had not been solicited by 
either party, was anxious for the destruction of both. Ac- 
cordingly the Greeks having made an attempt to retrieve 
matters, the Russians unexpectedly fell on their former 
allies, and thus delivered Constantinoj^le from the western 
invasion, and secured Florisel in the possession of Helena. 

Here the romance might have received termination, and 
the reader repose, but there yet remain two-thirds of the 
family history, and the adventures of a long series of 
heroes, who of course must be ushered in by an account of 
the previous amours of their ancestors. Amadis of Greece, 


in pursuing the treacherous Russians, to whom his country 
had been so much indebted, and who set sail immediately- 
after their late notable exploit, was driven on a desert 
island, where he resolved to stay and do penance, on ac- 
count of his infidelity to the princess of Sicily.^ Here he 
remained till that princess accidentally landed on the island, 
and, after the proper expostulations, persuaded him to re- 
turn to his wife Niquea. Meanwhile the G-reek knights, 
particularly Florisel and Falanges, had set out in quest of 
Amadis, and had arrived at the isle of Guinday. Sidonia, 
the queen of this country, proposed to marry Falanges ; 
but, as he was scrupulous in maintaining his fidelity to 
Alastraxare, Florisel agreed to substitute himself in the 
place of his friend, and accordingly espoused her majesty 
under the feigned name of Moraizel. He soon after aban- 
doned his bride, but the effect of this short intei'course was 
the birth of Diana, the most beautiful of all the princesses 
of romance, and heroine of the eleventh and twelfth books 
of this enormous history, which chiefly contain the adven- 
tures of 


son of Falanges and Alastraxare. A representation of the 
figure of the incomparable Diana having been rashly ex- 
hibited at Athens, where Agesilan was prosecuting his 
studies, he was inspired with such an irresistible passion, 
that he repaired, in the disguise of a female minstrel, to 
the court of Queen Sidonia, the mother of his mistress, and 
was presented to her daughter as an amusing companion. 
Here he occasionally entertained the court ladies by the 
exercise of his musical and poetical talents, but at other 
times distinguished himself as an amazon, in combating 
the knights, who on various pretexts came to molest 
Sidonia. The circumstance of a lover residing with his 
mistress, and unknown to her, in disguise of a female, is 
frequent in subsequent romances, as in the Astraea, the 
Arcadia and Argenis, and its origin must be looked for in 
the story of the concealment of Achilles. 

^ V. Schmidt remarks that the relations between Armadis and 
Armida have supplied Tasso with the situation of his Rinaldo and 


A^esilan at length having sufficiently signalized himself 
by his exploits, appeared in his real character, and under- 
took to bring Sidonia the head of Florisel, against whom, 
since he had married and abandoned her, under the name 
of Moraizel, she had conceived the most bitter resentment. 
In prosecution of this scheme, Agesilan repaired to Con- 
stantinople, and defied Florisel to mortal fight. It was 
arranged that this combat should take place in the 
dominions of Sidonia, but it v^as there discovered, on the 
an'ival of the champions, that Floiisel might be turned to 
better account by employing him in defence of the island, 
which had been recently invaded by the Russians. Having 
got rid of these enemies, Agesilan and Diana were affianced, 
and the general joy was increased by the arrival of the 
elder and younger Amadis. The Greek princes then set 
sail for Constantinople, where it was intended that the 
nuptials of Agesilan and Diana should be solemnized. A 
tempest having arisen during the voyage, Agesilan and 
Diana were separated from the rest of their kindred, and 
thrown together on a desert rock, where they would have 
perished, had not a knight mounted on a griffin picked 
them up, and conveyed them to his residence in the Green 
Isle, one of the Canaries. Next morning their preserver 
having become enchanted with the beauty of Diana, 
privately carried her off to a remote part of the island, and 
was proceeding to give her the most lively demonstrations 
of attachment, when she was rescued by corsairs who had 
accidentally landed, and was conveyed on board their 
vessel. Agesilan having missed their host, and being also 
unable to find Diana, set out in quest of her on the griffin. 
Having in vain surveyed the island from the back of this 
winged monster, he traversed many other atmospheres, 
and at length descended in the country of the Giramantes. 
The king of this region, on account of his pride, had been 
struck blind, and had been sentenced to have the food pre- 
pared for hini devoured by a nauseous dragon, which was 
now driven off by Agesilan. This story corresponds with 
that in the Orlando Furioso [c. 33. st. 102, &c.], of Senapus, 
king of Ethiopia, who, on account of his overweening pride, 
had been deprived of sight, and had his food daily polluted 
by harpies, till relieved by Astolpho, who descended as 


from heaven on a winged steed. Besides these circum- 
stances of resemblance, the nations, both in the poem and 
romance, are of the Christian faith, both monarchs reside 
in the most sumptuous palaces, and both deliverers are 
mistaken for deities on their descent. The origin of these, 
as of most other stories of the same sort, is classical, and 
is derived from the story of Phineus and the Harpies in 
the Argonautics of ApoUonius Rhodius : — 

Thei-e on the margin of the beating flood, 

The mournful mansions of sad Phineus stood : 

Taught by the wise Apollo to descry 

Unborn events of dark futurity, 

Vain of his science, the presumptuous seer 

Deigned not JoA-e's awful secrets to revere ; 

Hence Jove, indignant, gave him length of daj's, 

But quenched in endless night his visual rays ; 

Nor would the vengeful god indulge his taste 

With the sweet blessings of a pure repast, 

Though (for they learned his fate), the country round 

Their prophet's board with every dainty crowned. 

For, lo ! descending sudden from the sky, 

Eound the piled banquet shrieking harpies fly, 

Whose beaks rapacious, and whose talons, tear 

Quick from his famished lips the untasted fare. 

Fawkes Ap. Rhodius, b. 2. 

The Argonauts touch at the mansion of Phineus on their 
voyage to Colchos, and two of their number, the winged 
children of Boreas, deliver the prophet from this dis- 

After having re-installed the king of the Garamantes in 
the pleasures of a comfortable meal, Agesilan set out on 
the farther quest of Diana, and arrived at the Desolate 
Isle. The god Tervagant had fallen in love with the queen 
of this country ; but, being baulked in his amour, had let 
loose a band of destructive hobgoblins, who ravaged the 
land. An oracle of the god declared, that Tervagant would 
only be appeased, if the inhabitants daily exposed on the 
sea- shore a fresh beauty, till such time as he found one he 
liked as well as the queen. As the fair offering to the 
fastidious god was every day devoured by a sea-monster, 
the island was now nearly depopulated, and corsairs were 
employed to ravage other countries, in quest of victims. 
Diana had fallen into the hands of this crew, and, on her 


arrival, was bound to the rock. That very day Agesilan 
descended on his griffin, and offered his services against 
the sea-monster. On proceeding to the place of combat, 
the discovery of the situation of his mistress invigorated 
his exertions. Having slain the monster after a dreadful 
combat, he placed his beloved Diana on his hippogriff, 
and skimmed with her towards Constantinople. 

It may be remembered, that in the Orlando Furioso 
[c. 8], Proteus, being offended at the bad treatment the 
princess of Eubuda had received, in consequence of an 
affair of gallantry in which she had engaged with him, 
commissioned herds of marine monsters to depopulate the 
country, and would only be appeased by a daily offering of 
a damsel, to glut an ork which was stationed on the shore, 
in readiness to receive her. Angelica was brought to this 
country by seamen, who scoured the main for victims, and 
was bound to the fatal rock when delivered by Euggiero, 
who arrived on his winged courser. This, like the story 
of the blind king and the dragon, is of classical origin, and 
has been doubtless suggested by the fiction of Perseus and 

On his flight to Constantinople, Agesilan spied beneath 
him the ship of Amadis, from which he had been originally 
separated, and which was still on its voyage. He dexte- 
rously alighted on this vessel, and proceeded with the rest 
of his kindred to the Orecian capital, where his nuptials 
were solemnized with Diana. 

Agesilan of Colchos is the faithful lover of this part of 
the family chronicle. Eogel of Oreece, whose adventures 
occupy a considerable part of the romance, is the G-alaor, 
or general lover. He was the son of Florisel and Helena, 
and is, I think, by far the most rakish of his kindred. It 
is true he is specially attached to Leonida, a Greek princess, 
whom he finally marries ; but, at the solicitation of any 
damsel, he sets out to the relief of her mistress : he usually 
begins the adventure by an intrigue with the ambassadress, 
and concludes by an amour with the lady he had served. 

The reader, I presume, does not wish any farther to 
pursue the involved genealogy of the romantic issue of 
Amadis, and a few words will bring us to the latest 


Many of the chief heroes of the family of Amadis pos- 
sess a sentimental and platonic female friend, like the 
G-radaflQle of Lisuarte. Finistea acted in this capacity to 
Amadis of Greece, and attended him in his long quest of 
his empress Niquea, who had been carried off while on her 
way to visit her father. In the course of their peregrina- 
tions, Amadis and Finistea came to a desert island, where, 
having partaken of a certain fruit, they totally divested 
themselves of their platonic habits, and a son was in 
consequence produced, who, from the place of his birth, was 

Silvio de la Selva.^ 

This prince first distinguished himself at the siege of 
Constantinople by the Eussians, whose king had lately 
transmitted, by twelve dwarfs, a defiance to the G-recian 
princes, in which he mentioned that he had entered into a 
confederacy with a hundred and sixty eastern monarchs, to 
burn all the habitations of the Greeks, that they might be 
rebuilt on an improved plan by his subjects the Eussians. 
A long account is given of the war, which terminated suc- 
cessfully for the besieged ; but they are hardly freed from 
their Eussian foes, when the whole bevy of Greek empresses 
and princesses are carried off by one fell stroke of necro- 
mancy. All the knights and heroes set out in search of 
them, and meet with the accustomed adventures, in which 
Silvio de la Selva particularly distinguishes himself. After 
the princesses are brought back to their own habitations, 
it is found that, during their absence, many have given 
birth to children. Spheramond, son of Eogel of Greece, 
and Amadis of Astre, son of Agesilan, are of the number. 
When Spheramond and Amadis grow uj), they are both 
sent to Parthia, for it was destined they should be there 
admitted into the order of chivalry. Here they fall in love 
with two Parthian princesses, Eosaliana and Eicharda, 
whom they espouse after they have gone through the requi- 
site number of adventures. Among others, they had been 
present at a great battle between the Christians and 
Pagans, who, as usual, had besieged Constantinople. In 

^ Hechos de Silvio de la Selva, hijo de Amadis de Gi'ecia. 


this combat the king of the Island of Terror was slain on 
the side of the paynims. His widow resolves to be avenged, 
and acconipHshes her purpose by carrying away the young 
prince Saphiraman, son of Spheraniond and the j^rincess 
Richarda, as also Hercules d'Astre, son of Amadis d'Astre 
and Rosaliana. These two princes are shut uj) in an im- 
pregnable tower ; and the adventures of different knights 
who attempt their deliverance are related at great length. 
This is tinally effected by Fulgarine, son of Rogel of 
Greece ; and the family history concludes with the exploits 
of these princes after they have received their freedom ; 
but what relates to them is chiefly of French invention. 

A Spanish romance concerning Flores of Greece, sur- 
named Knight of the Swan, second son of the Emperor 
Esplandian, a work also translated by D'Herberay, may be 
associated to the history of Amadis. The adventures of 
the Knight of the Sun ^ and his brother Eosiclair, may also 
be considered as belonging to the same series of romance, 
since Perion, the parent of Amadis de Gaul, was descended 
from Trebatius, father to the Knight of the Sun. Nicolas 
Antonio, in one part of his Bibliotheca Hispaniae, says, 
that the first two books of this romance were written by 
Diego Ortimes, and elsewhere that they were from the pen 
of Pedro de la Sierra. A third part was composed by 
Marcos Martinez, and a fourth by Feliciano de Selva : 
Nevertheless the work is not finished, and the knights are 
left under enchantment. Cervantes says it contains some- 
thing of the inventions of the Italian poet Boiardo ; but I 
imagine the Orlando Innamorato was prior to the Spanish 
work. The whole romance has been translated into Eng- 
lish, under the title of the Mirrour of Knighthood," and 
into French literally from the Sj^anish, in eight volumes. 
It has also been compressed into two by the Marquis de 
Paulmy, who has used it as a frame, in which he has en- 
■closed what he considered the finest delineations of the 

^ Espejo de principes e cavalleros, o Cavallero del Febo. — Saragossa, 
1580. 2 vol. folio. 

- The Mirrour of Princely deedes and Knighthood . . . Now newly 
translated out of Spanish into our vulgar English tongue, by M[ar- 
garet] T[iler]. 1578. 4to. This is the first English edition of the 
ftrst part of this romance. Other portions appeared subsequently. 


whole family picture. The romantic story of the issue of 
Amadis has been wound up in the Roman des Romans, 
a work originally French, and written by Duverdier. 

The fables relating to Amadis de Gaul, and his lineage, 
often supplied with materials the poets and dramatists of 
the neighbouring countries. Both the Amadigi and Flori- 
dante of Bernardo Tasso are formed on the first work of 
the series, and innumerable French and Italian dramas 
have been founded on incidents which occur in Amadis of 
G-reece and Agesilan of Colchos. The romances of the 
peninsula, however, in general, had less influence on the 
early literature of this country than either the French 
romances, or Italian novels. This Mr. Southey attributes 
to the wretched manner in which the early translations of 
them were executed. He has mentioned, however, that in 
Amadis of Greece may be found the original of the Zel- 
mane of Sidney's " Arcadia," the Florizel of Shakespeare's 
" Winter's Tale," and Masque of Cupid in the Faery 

Having now discussed the history of Amadis and his 
descendants, we come to the second family chronicle, car- 
ried on in the romances of the peninsula. Of this new 
series, the first romance, at least considered in relation to 
the order of events, is 

Palmerin de Oliva.^ 

There is no dispute concerning the language in which 
this work was originally written, as there is with regard to 
so many of the other tales of chivalry belonging to this 
third class of romances. It first appeared in Spanish, 
and was printed at Salamanca in 1511, at Seville in 
1525, and, also in Spanish, at Venice in 1526, and is 
dedicated, in a prologue, to Caesar Triulsci, who was 
then learning that language. The work afterwards ap- 
peared in 1533, 12mo., also at Venice, corrected by the 
Spaniard Juan Matheo da Villa, and addressed to the 
Senor Juan de Nores Conde de Tripoli, Emharador dell 
Universidad de Chipro, who is told that it is dedicated to 

^ El libro del famoso Cavallero Palmerin de Olivia (sic). Cum privi- 
legio. First edition, Salamanca, 1511, fol. 


him tliat, as he had a taste for languages, he might learn 
the Spanish, and that this tongue might be ennobled by 
his acquiring it. In 1546, there was published at Paris, 
in folio, a French version, of which Jean Maugin, called 
Le petit Angevm, is announced as the author. This j^ro- 
duction professes to be revised and amended from a former 
French translation, which is by an uncertain hand, and 
which, as is acknowledged in the preface, has only drawn 
the matiere prmcipale from the Spanish. Accordingly, 
Maugin, who wrought on it, has enlarged in some places 
on the original, and abridged in others ; the mode of war- 
fare too has been altered, and the love intrigues have been 
Frenchified and modernized. This edition is adorned with 
cuts, which might suit any Spanish romance of chivalry, 
and are in fact adopted in the French edition of Amadis 
of Greece ; they represent a lady in child-bed — a young 
man receiving the order of knighthood —an equestrian 
combat — a city scaled — ships in a storm — an interview be- 
tween a lady and knight. The romance of Palmerin de 
Oliva was also translated into English by Anthony Mun- 
dav, and published in the year 1588, 4to., in black 

Like many other heroes of Spanish romances, the knight 
who gives name to this work was of illegitimate birth. 
Eeymicio, the eighth emperor of Constantinople from 
Constantine, had a daughter named Griana, whom he 
destined as the wife of Tarisius, son to the king of Hun- 
gary, and nephew to the empress. The princess Griana, 
however, preferred Florendos of Macedon, with whom she 
had an interview one night in an orchard, of which the 
consequence was the production of the hero of this romance. 
Griana, by pretending sickness, concealed her pregnancy ; 
and on the birth of the child she entrusted him to one of 
her confidants to be exposed. The infant was discovered 
by a peasant in the neighbourhood, who carried him to his 
cottage, brought him up as his son, and bestowed on him 
the name of Palmerin d'Oliva, from his being found on a 
hill which was covered with olives and palms. Palmerin 
was for a time contented with his humble destiny, but when. 

^ And, according to Lowndes, by Thomas Creed in 1586. 4to. 


lie grew up and discovered that he was not tlie son of his 
reputed father, he longed to signalize himself by feats of 

One day, while in a forest, Palmerin had an opportunity 
of delivering from the jaws of a lioness a merchant who 
was returning to his own country from Constantinople. 
Our hero was taken to the city of Hermide by the person he 
had preserved, and there furnished with arms and a horse. 
Thus equipped, he proceeded to the court of Macedon to 
receive the order of knighthood from Florendos, who was 
son to the king of that country, and (though this was un- 
knoAvn to both parties) the father of Palmerin. 

After obtaining the honour he required, the first exploit 
of our young hero was destroying a serpent that guarded a 
fountain, of which the waters were essential to the recovery 
of the health of Primaleon, king of Macedon. While en- 
gaged in this adventure, he received the privilege of being 
proof against enchantment from certain fairies who resorted 
to this fountain, and had a pique at the serpent. 

The fame of this exploit of Palmerin being spread abroad, 
many neighbouring princes apphed to him for assistance. 
In all the enterprises undertaken at their request, Palmerin 
was eminently successful. At length, extending his succour 
to more distant quarters, he delivered the emperor of Ger- 
many from the knights by whom he was besieged in the 
town of Gand (Ghent). Here Palmerin fell in love with 
the emj)eror's daughter, Polinarda, the heroine of the 
romance, and who, before this time, like the mistress of 
Artus de la Bretagne, had appeared to her lover in a 
dream. Having distinguished himself at a tournament in 
Germany, Palmerin proceeded to one which had been pro- 
claimed in France by the prince of that country, for the 
j)urpose of driving into his opponents a due sense of the 
peerless beauty of his mistress, the duchess of Burgundy : 
but Palmerin, of course, estabhshed the superior excellence 
of the charms of Polinarda. After his return to Germany, 
this princess still continued in the retirement in which she 
lived at the time of his departure, but at length, by the 
intervention of his dwarf Urgando, he was admitted to her 

Now about this time messengers arrived at court from 


the king of Norway, to implore assistance for their master 
in a war in which he was unfortunately engaged with the 
king of England. The emperor agreed to send an army to 
his relief ; but Trineus, the emperor's son, being enamoured 
of Agriola, daughter of the English monarch, j^rivately de- 
parted with Palmerin, and arrived in Britain with the view 
of aiding the father of his mistress. England now becomes 
the chief theatre of adventures, which at length terminate 
with the departure of Palmerin and Trineus, who eloped 
with Agriola, the king's daughter. They all set sail in the 
same vessel, and during their voyage experienced a storm 
of some days' continuance. When it ceased, they found 
they were somewhat out of their reckoning, for instead of 
having reached the north of Germany, as intended, they 
had made the coast of the Morea. During the calm, by 
which the tempest was followed, Palmerin landed at the 
adjacent island of Calj^a, for the purpose of hawking, a 
diversion which, next to the pleasures of the chase, seems 
to have been the chief amusement of persons of rank, and 
which continued to be so till the improvement in firearms. 
In the absence of Palmerin, the ship in Avhich he had left 
his friends was taken by two Turkish galleys. The prin- 
cess Agriola was presented by her captors to the G-rand 
Turk ; but Trineus having been set ashore on an island^ 
which is the counterpart of that of Circe, was converted 
into a lapdog. 

Palmerin, meanwhile, was discovered in the island of 
Calpa by Archidiana, daughter of the sultan of Babylon. 
This lady carried him with her, and took him into her ser- 
vice, as did also her cousin Ardemira, who then resided at 
the Babylonish court. Palmerin, however, maintained his 
fidelity to Polinarda, and resisted the importunate solicita- 
tions of these princesses. The disappointment had so 
powerful an effect on Ardemira, that she burst a blood- 
vessel and expired. Amaran, son of the king of Phrygia, 
to whom she had been affianced, came, on hearing of her 
demise, to the court of Babylon, charged the j^rincess 
Archidiana with her death, and offered to maintain his 
accusation by an appeal to arms. Palmerin espoused her 
quarrel, killed Amaran in single combat, and, in conse- 
quence, became a great favourite of the soldan, whom he 


assisted in carrying on a prosperous war against the lineage 
of Amaran. The soldan, elated with this success, fitted 
out an expedition against Constantinople, which Palmerin 
was ordered to accompany. Tliat knight, however, seized 
the ojDportunity of a temj^est, which arose during the 
voyage, to separate from the Asiatic fleet, and forced the 
seamen of his own vessel to steer for a j^ort in Geimany. 
Having landed, he immediately proceeded to the capital of 
the emperor, where he passed some time with Polinarda. 
After remaining fifteen days, he set out in quest of Trineus ; 
and having arrived at Buda, he learned that Florendos, 
prmce of Macedon, had lately slain Tarisius, who, it will be 
recollected, was his rival in the affections of Griana, prin- 
cess of Constantinople, and had been united to her in mar- 
riage by compulsion of her father. Florendos, having been 
taken captive by the family of Tarisius, had been sent to 
Constantinople, where he was condemned to the flames 
along with Griana, who was susj^ected as his accomplice. 
Palmerin instantly repaired to Constantinoj^le ; maintained 
their innocence ; defeated their accusers, the nephews of 
Tarisius ; and thus, though unknown to himself, preserved 
the lives of his parents. While confined to bed, in conse- 
quence of the wounds he had received in their vindication, 
he was visited by Griana, who discovered, from a mark on 
his face, and from his mentioning the place where he had 
been exposed, that he was indeed her child. He was then 
joyfully received by the emperor, and acknowledged as his 
successor ; his own son and grandson having been slain in 
the battle with the Assyrians, who, after their separation 
from Palmerin, had landed in Greece, but had been totally 

After these events Palmerin continued his quest of 
Trineus, but in sailing over the Mediterranean he was 
taken captive by the Turkish galleys, and conducted to 
the palace of the Grand Turk. There he was instrumental 
in liberating the princess Agriola from the power of that 
monarch. He afterwards arrived at the court of a princess, 
with whom Trineus at that time resided in quality of her 
dog, having been lately presented to her by the enchantress, 
by whom he was originally transformed. Palmerin agreed 
to accompany this princess on a visit which she paid to 


Mussabelin, a Persian magician, in expectation of being 
cured of a distemper in her nose. The necromancer in- 
formed her, at the first consultation, that this cure could 
only be effected by the flowers of a tree which grew in the 
castle of the Ten Steps, an edifice which was guarded by 
enchantment. This adventure was undertaken and achieved 
by Palmerin, who gained the flowers of the tree, and an 
enchanted bird, which was destined, in due season, to 
announce to him, by an unearthly shriek, the approaching 
termination of his existence. He also i)ut an end to the 
spells of the castle, by which means Trineus, wlio, in his 
canine capacity, had accompanied his friend and owner, 
w^as restored to his original form. 

The exploit is followed by a long series of adventures, 
bearing, however, a strong resemblance to those already 
related ; new combats, new enchantments, and new soldans 
with inflammable daughters. Palmerin and Trineus at 
length returned to Europe, and the latter was soon after 
married to Agriola. At the same time Palmerin espoused 
Polinarda, and on the death of his grandsire Reymucio 
ascended the throne of Constantinople. 

It has been suspected, from what has been said in some 
Latin verses at the end of Palmerin d'Oliva, that this 
romance was written by a woman : and if so, it gives us 
no very favourable impression of her morals.^ Nor does 
she atone for this defect by genius or felicity of invention. 
M. de Paulmy, indeed, prefers Palmerin d'Oliva to all the 
romances of the family history of the Palmerins, and 
tliinks it as superior to them as Amadis de Gaul to its 

^ " The Palmerin," says Ticknor, " has generally been regarded as 
Portuguese in its origin ; but this is not true. It was the work — 
strange to say — of a carpenter's daughter in Burgos, and was first 
printed at Salamanca in 1511. ... A continuation, too, by the same fair 
author appeared, called, in form, The Second Book of Palmerin, 
which treats of the achievements of his sons, Primaleon and Polendos, 
and of which we have an edition dated in 1516." Ticknor, however, 
neither (juotes the title, nor gives the authority for his statement of the 
authorship. Brunet mentions an edition with the title, La llistoria 
de Palmerin de Oliva, traducida de Griego en espafiol por Francisco 
Vasquez. Salamanca, a xxii. de Marco de 1516," adding, iiowever, 
*• Cctte edition semble avoir disparu ; les editeurs de I'Ensayo de una 
Bibl. Espanola ne la citent que d'aprcs le Cutologo de la Colombina con- 
serve a Seville." 


contimiations. But more weight is to be given to tlie 
opinion of tlie author of Don Quixote, and even from the 
abstract that has been presented, the reader will, I thinks 
be satisfied of the justness of the sentence by which 
Cervantes condemned it to the flames. — " Then opening 
another volume he found it to be Palmerin d'Oliva. Ha I 
have I found you, cried the curate ; here, take this Oliva,. 
let it be hewn in pieces and burnt, and the ashes scattered 
in the air." 

The next romance in the series of the Palmerin histories 
is that of 


son of Palmerin d'Oliva and Polinarda, which was written 
originally in Castilian, and professes to be translated from, 
the G-reek by Francisco Delicado. It was first printed in 
1616 ; afterwards at Seville in 1524 ; at Venice in 1534 ; 
Bilboa, 1585 ; and Lisbon, 1598. An Italian translation 
was published at Venice in 1559, and a Prenc^i one at 
Lyons in 1572. Anthony Munday translated into English, 
first, that part of the romance which relates to the exploits 
of Polendos, which was dedicated, in some Latin verses, to 
Sir Francis Drake, and pubhshed in 1589. He afterwards 
continued his labours, and produced the complete version 
of the romance, printed in 1595 and 1619. 

Near the commencement of this work there are related 
the adventures of Polendos, which form the most inte- 
resting part of the romance of Primaleon. The first exploit 
of this hero was not brilliant. While he yet resided in 
the court of his mother, the queen of Tharsus, returning 
one day from the chase, he perceived a little old woman 
sitting on the steps of the palace, and, on account of some 
imaginary offence, kicked her to the foot of the staircase. 
The old lady, when she had reached the bottom, muttered 
that it was not so his father Palmerin d'Oliva succoured 
the unfortunate. Polendos thus learned the secret of his 
birth, for, in fact, he was the son of Palmerin, whose 

^ Libro que trata de los valerosos Hechos en armas de Primaleon hijo 
del Emperador Palmerin, y de su hermano Polendos, y de Don Duardos 
Principe de Inglateri-a, y de otros preciados Cavalleros de la Corte del 
Emperador Palmerin. 

CH. v.] PLATIR. 385 

fidelity to Polinarda had been, on one occasion, overcome 
by an intoxicating beverage he had received from the 
queen of Tharsus. The i^rince now burned to signalize 
himself by more sj>londid actions than the one he had just 
committed. Acc«.>rdingly, he departed for Constantinople 
to make himself knovm to his father, and performed the 
usual exploits on the way. He did not, however, remain 
long at that city, but set out to rescue the princess France- 
lina, of whom he had become enamoured, from the hands 
of a giant and dwarf, by whose power she was confined in 
an enchanted castle. 

Polendos returned to Constantinople during a great 
tournament, which was held to celebrate the nuptials of 
one of the emperor's daughters. On this occasion, Prima- 
leon, being stimulated to the desire of glory by the exploits 
of his half-brother Polendos, was admitted into the order 
of chivalry, and greatly distinguished himself. The re- 
mainder of the romance is occupied with his adventures, 
and those of Duardos (Edward) of England. A duchess 
of Ormedes, incensed at Palmerin d'Oliva because he had 
slain her son, had declared she would only grant her 
daughter, the beautiful Gridoina, in marriage to the knight 
who should bring her the head of Primaleon. This raised 
up many enemies to that young hero, and, as he invariably 
slew the lovers of Gridoina, he became the object of her 
deepest detestation. The lady lived shut up in a remote 
castle, where Primaleon accidentally arrived one evening, 
and being unknown, he completely possessed himself of 
her affections before his departm-e. 

The author of Primaleon designed 


the son of Primaleon and Gridoina, to succeed his father 
in chivalry, and a romance, of which he is the hero, was 
accordingly written to continue the series, which was 
printed at Valladolid in 1533. This work is one of those 
tales of chivalry condemned to the flames by Cervantes. 
"Here is the noble Don Platir, cried the barber. It is 

' Chronica del muy valente y esforzado Cavallero Platir hijo del 
Emperador Primaleon. 

I. C C 


an old book, replied the curate, and I can think of nothing 
in him that deserves a grain of pity : away with him 
without more words ; and down he went accordingly." 

This indifferent romance was superseded, as the legiti- 
mate continuation of the family history of the Palmerins, 
by the superior merit of the romance of 

Palmerin of England,^ 

son to Don Duardos, prince of England, and Florida, 
daughter of the Emperor Palmerin d'Oliva. 

The most ancient edition of Palmerin of England is in 
the French language ; it was printed at Lyons, 1553, is 
dedicated to Diana of Poictiers, duchess of Yalentinois, 
and is said in the title-page to be translated by Jacques 
Vincent from the Castilian. In 1555, an edition in the 
Italian language was published at Venice, which also pur- 
ports that it was translated from the Spanish. This 
romance next api^eared in Portuguese in 1567, dedicated 
to the Infanta Dona Maria, by Francesco de Moraes. Of 
Moraes little farther is known than that he was born at 
Bragan9a ; that he was treasurer to King Joam III., and 
perished by a violent death at Evora in 1572. He informs 
the reader, in the dedication, that being in France, he had 
discovered a French MS. chronicle of Palmerin, which he 
had translated into Portuguese. 

In spite of this declaration of Moraes, and of the circum- 
stance that the French and Italian editions aj^peared 
twelve or foui'teen years previous to the Portuguese, both 
l^rofessing to be translated from Spanish, Mr. Southey 
has maintained that Palmerin of England was neither 
wi-itten in Spanish, as alleged in the French and Italian 
editions, nor translated from ancient chronicles, as pre- 
tended by Moraes ; but that the Portuguese is the language 
in which it was originally composed, and that Moraes 
himself is the author. 

With regard to the assertion of Moraes, it is argued 
justly that original romances were very frequently repre- 
sented by the authors as translated from old manuscripts ; 

1 Libro del famosissimo y muy valeroso Cavallero Palmerin de Inga- 
laterra hijo del Eey Don Duarte. 


that the account which lie gives of discovering^ the chro- 
nicles inii)lies that the story is his own, was meant to be so 
understood, and was understood so ; and that if the work 
had not been original, the pretence concerning the manu- 
scripts could not have escaped detection, as the French and 
Italian versions could not have been unknown in Lisbon at 
the period of its publication. 

The difficulty arising from the priority of the French and 
Italian translations, Mr. Southey resolves by adducing 
similar instances in which translations have been made 
from written copies, and published before the original, and 
by conjecturing that Moraes wrote the book in France, but 
delayed printing it till his return to Portugal, and that 
meanwhile it was translated into French and Italian. As 
to the assertion in the title-pages of the French editions, 
that it was taken from the Castilian, he beheves that term 
to be used as synonymous with Spanish, which was, at that 
time, employed to denote generally the language of all the 
writers of the peninsula. He remarks, besides, that the 
Spaniards lay no claim to the romance, and that he knows 
no proof that it exists in their language. 

Thus the way is cleared for the evidence of its Portu- 
guese original, which consists in an assertion of Cervantes, 
that there was a report that it was composed by a wise king 
of Portugal,^ which, though a mistake as to the author, 
evinces the general belief that it was wi'itten in Portuguese. 
There is also, according to Mr. Southey, internal evidence 
that Palmerin of England was the work of an inhabitant 
of Portugal, since to much of the scenery the author has 
given not only natural but local truth.^ 

In Palmerin, as in many other romances of chivalry, the 
author gives an account not only of the infancy of the hero, 

1 See p. 72. 

^ A copy of the romance in the Spanish language, printed at Toledo 
in two parts in 1547 and 1548, was discovered by Salva, It contains, at 
the end of the dedication, " a few verses addressed by the author to the 
reader, announcing it, in an acrostic, to be the work of Luis Hurtado, 
known to have been ut that time a poet in Toledo." See Ticknor, who 
cites bibliographical authorities for the "attribution" in a note; and 
Braunfels, op. cit. p. 145. Sec also Zeitschrift fiir Komanischen Philo- 
logie, vi. 2, 3, p. 216, etc.; and Komania, xi. pp. 618, 619, in favour 
of Moraes' authorship. 


but the adventures of his parents. Don Duardos, son of 
Fadriqne, king of England, was united, as mentioned in 
the romance of Primaleon, to Merida, daughter of Palmerin 
d'Oliva. One day, while pursuing a wild boar in a forest 
of England, this prince loses his way and arrives at a castle, 
into which he is admitted, and is afterwards treacherously 
detained by a giantess called Eutropa, with the view of re- 
venging the death of her brother, who had been slain by 
Palmerin d'Oliva. This giantess had a nephew called 
Dramuziando, who resided in the castle, and was the son 
of the person who had been killed by Palmerin. Dramu- 
ziando presents the character (a very singular one in ro- 
mance) of an amiable and accomplished giant. He was, 
we are told, pleasant in discourse, and (which was probably 
no difficult matter) surpassed all his kindred in courtesy ; 
he conceived a friendship for Duardos, and, contrary to the 
intentions of the aunt, treated him with much kindness 
while he was detained a prisoner in the castle. 

Flerida having set out in search of her husband Duardos 
with a large escort, is seized in a forest with the pains of 
labour, and gives birth to two sons, who are baptized by a 
chaplain who was in attendance. This ceremony was 
scarcely concluded when a savage man, who inhabited the 
forest, approached, leading two lions, and possessed him- 
self of the infants, one of whom had just been named 
Palmerin, the future hero of the romance, and the other 
Florian. Both these unfortunate children he straightway 
conveys to his den, and destines them as food for his lions. 

After this mishap, Flerida returns disconsolate to the 
palace, and a messenger is despatched to Constantinople to 
inform the emperor and his court of the recent loss, and 
also of the captivity of Duardos. On receiving this intel- 
ligence, Primaleon and a number of knights depart for 
England. A great proportion of the early part of the 
romance is occupied with the adventures of those engaged 
in attempting the deliverance of Duardos. Most of the 
knights fall under the power of the giant Dramuziando, 
but the only revenge he takes is employing them, as he of 
late had employed Duardos, to combat each new enemy 
that approached. 

Meanwhile the wife of the savage man had prevailed on 


her husband to relinquish his intentions of dismembering 
Palmerin and Florian for behoof of his lions, and the two 
young princes are brouglit up as his own children, along 
with his son Selvian. One day, when Florian had roamed 
to a considerable distance in pursuit of a stag, he meets 
Sir Pridos, son to the duke of Wales, who takes him to the 
English court, where he is introduced to the king and 
Flerida, and trained up by them with much care, under 
the name of Child of the Desert. 

Some time after this, Palmerin having strayed to the 
sea coast, accompanied by Selvian, the savage man's son, 
sees a galley strike on the shore. From this vessel Polen- 
dos, mentioned in the romance of Primaleon, disembarks, 
having come to England, with other Greek knights, in quest 
of Duardos. At their own request he takes Palmerin and, 
Selvian on board his shij), and sails with them to Constan- 
tinople. Here they are introduced to the emperor, who 
remains ignorant of the extraction of Palmerin, but is cer- 
tified of his high rank by special letters from the Lady of 
the Lake. Our hero was in consequence knighted, and had 
his sword girt on by Polinarda, the daughter of Primaleon. 
During his residence at court a tournament is held, in which 
he and an unknown knight, who bore for his device a savage 
leading two lions, chiefly distinguished themselves. The 
stranger departs without discovering himself, but he is 
afterwards found out to be Florian of the Desert, and is 
thenceforth denominated the Knight of the Savage. 

Palmerin having become enamoured of Polinarda, the 
daughter of Primaleon, and having expressed his sentiments 
rather freely to the princess, she forbids him her presence. 
Lq the depth of despair he forsakes the Grecian court, and 
joumeving towards England, under the name of the Knight 
of Fortune, succours on his way many injured ladies, and 
bears away the prize from many knights. He is always 
accompanied in these exploits by Selvian, who acted as his 
squire. Having arrived in England, while passing through 
a wood, they are met and recognized by the savage man. 
In the neighbourhood of London, Palmerin is received in 
a castle, of which the lady asks him to combat the Knight 
of the Savage, who had slain her son. On his arrival in 
London, the first business of Palmerin is to defy Florian of 


the Savage. It is customary in most Spanisli romances to 
stake against eacli other the two brothers, who are the 
chief characters in the work. On the present occasion, 
however, the combat is interrupted at the entreaty of the 
princess Flerida. Nor is it ever resumed, for Palmerin 
having overcome Dramuziando, and set Duardos at hberty, 
the birth of the champions is revealed by Daliarte the magi- 
cian, whose declaration is confirmed by the deposition of 
the savage man. 

Florian and Palmerin now leave the court of England in 
company, but it is impossible to follow them through the 
long series of adventures in which they engage. A great 
proportion of the exploits in the romance are performed by 
the brothers, separately or united. Some of the adven- 
tures of Palmerin, particularly those in the Perilous Isle, 
possess considerable beauty and interest. A number of 
exploits are, however, attributed to subordinate characters, 
and a proper share is assigned to the giant Dramuziando, 
who, though he had been vanquished by Palmerin, is 
allowed to retain his castle, on account of his courtesy and 
good treatment of Duardos. Eutropa, nevertheless, still 
retains her illwill to the family of the Palmerins ; and 
many of the incidents in the romance arise from her machi- 
nations, and those of other aggrieved giants, to avenge 
themselves on the brothers ; but all their efforts are ulti- 
mately counteracted by the magician Daliarte. 

The chief scene of adventure is the castle of Almourol. 
There, under care of a giant, dwelt the beautiful but 
haughty Miraguarda, whose portraiture was delineated on 
a shield, which hung over the gate of the castle. This pic- 
ture was, in rotation, protected by knights, who had be- 
come enamoured of the original, against all other knights 
who had the audacity to maintain that the charms of their 
ladies were comparable to those of Miraguarda. At length, 
during a period when the picture was guarded by the giant 
Dramuziando, one of the adorers of the original, it is stolen 
by Albayzar, soldan of Babylon, who had been positively 
commanded to gain this trophy by his mistress the Lady 
Targiana, daughter of the G-rand Turk. ,. 

Finally, all the knights being assembled at Constan- 
tinople, espouse their respective ladies. Palmerin is united 


to Polinarda, and his brother Florian to Leonarda, queen 
of Thrace, wliose disenchantment had been one of the prin- 
cipal adventures of Palmerin. 

The romance, however, does not conclude with these 
marriages. Florian, whose character resembles that of the 
younger brothers in the history of Amadis, while residing 
at the court of the Grand Tiu'k, had run off with his 
daughter. That princess was now married to Albayzar, 
soldan of Babylon, who had stolen for her sake the portrait 
of Miraguarda ; but as she still retained a strong resent- 
ment at the conduct of her former lover, she employed a 
magician to avenge her on the queen of Thrace, who had 
been lately united to Florian. This queen, while disporting 
in a garden, is imexpectedly carried off by two enormous 
griffins, and conveyed to a magic castle, where she is con- 
fined in the image of a huge serpent. Florian' s attention 
is now occupied by the discovery and disenchantment of his 
queen, in wliich he at length succeeds by the assistance of 
the magician Daliarte. The scheme of revenge having thus 
failed, Albayzar, on account of the affront which had been 
offered to his queen by Florian, and exasperated at the re- 
fusal of the emperor to deliver that prince into his power, 
invades the Greek territories with two hundred thousand 
men, and accompanied by all the kings and soldans of the 
east. Three desperate engagements are fought between 
the Christians and Turks, in which Albayzar is slain, and 
the pagan army totally annihilated ; not, however, without 
great loss on the other side, for though Palmerin, Prima- 
leon, Dramuziando, and Florian survive, a large proportion 
of the Christian knights perish in these fatal encounters. 

The fame and reputation of this romance, which divides 
the palm of popularity with Amadis de Gaul, has probably 
been, in some measui-e, owing to the commendations of 
Cervantes. For, if we may judge from the number of 
editions, Palmerin was less read in the age during which 
tales of chivalry were in fashion than many of its contem- 
poraries ; and hence its celebrity was probably the conse- 
quence of the extravagant eulogy of Cervantes. " And this 
Palm of England, let it be kept and preserved as a thing 
unique ; and let another casket be made for it, such as that 
which Alexander found among the spoils of Darius, and 


set apart, that the works of the poet Homer might be kept 
in it. This book, Sir Comrade, is of authority, for two 
reasons ; the one, because it is a right good one in itself, 
and the other, because the report is that a wise king of 
Portugal composed it. All the adventures at the castle of 
Miraguarda are excellent, and managed with great skill; 
the discourses are courtly and clear, observing, with much 
propriety and judgment, the decorum of the speaker. — I 
say then, saving your good pleasure. Master Nicholas, this 
and Amadis de Gaul should be saved from the fire, and all 
the rest be, without farther search, destroyed." — Cervantes, 
who had so keen a perception of the absurdities of the pro- 
ductions of knight errantry, would not so strongly have 
praised this romance unless it had deserved some commen- 
dation ; but though Palmerin be certainly the most enter- 
taining of the romances of the peninsula, I cannot help 
thinking the author of Don Quixote has somewhat over- 
rated its merit. The arrangement of the incidents is as wild 
and perplexed as in other tales of chivalry. Besides, the 
individual adventures of Palmerin are invariably pros- 
perous, and we never feel any fear or interest on his account, 
as we are assured of a happy issue by the frequent recur- 
rence of success. The sentiments, too, are trivial, and the 
characters of the heroines insipid, even beyond what is 
common in romances of chivalry. Indeed, the author 
seems to have entertained a very unfavourable opinion of 
the fair sex, and indulges in many ill-bred reflections on 
their envy, unreasonableness, and inconstancy ; but he has 
not decked out his females even with these attributes. The 
portraits of the knights, however, are better brought out 
and discriminated. As in many other Spanish romances, 
Palmerin represents a faithful lover, and Florian a man of 
gallantry, though more than usually licentious. But the 
most interesting characters are Daliarte, a learned and soli- 
tary magician, who resides in the Valley of Perdition, im- 
mersed in profound study ; and the giant Dramuziando, 
for whose safety we feel principally anxious during the 
last terrible conflicts. The Emperor Palmerin d'Ohva, too, 
is here represented as a fine old man, with a high sense of 
honour and great courtliness of speech. The damsels, the 
strange knights, and the castles which abound in this ro- 


manee, are generally introduced and described in such a 
manner as to excite consideral)le curiosity concerning them ; 
and I know no work of the kind where interest and sus- 
pense, with regard to the conclusion, are kept up with 
greater success. If in the rival work of Amadis de Gaul 
there be more fire and animation, in Pahnerin there is in- 
finitely more yariety, delicacy, and sweetness. 

Mr. Southey, however, has drawn a parallel between this 
romance and Amadis de Gaul, which, on the whole, is 
much to the advantage of the latter. " In the description 
of battles," he says, " the author of Amadis exceeds all 
poets and all romancers, as he fairly fixes attention on the 
champions. But Moraes sets everything else before the 
eyes ; he is principally occupied with the lists and specta- 
tors, and enters into the feelings both of those who are en- 
gaged and of those who look on. The magic of Moraes," he 
continues, " is not good ; the cup of tears is a puerile fiction 
compared with the garland which blossoms out on the head 
of Oriana. The hero of Moraes is courageous, \artuous, 
and generous, to the height of chivalry ; but it is abstract 
courage, virtue, and generosity, with nothing to stamp and 
individualize the possessor. The Florian of Moraes, how- 
ever, is admirably supported, and he is a more prominent 
character than Galaor. But libertinism is only a subordi- 
nate feature of Galaor ; that which stands foremost is his 
high sense of chivah'ous honour. Florian has his wit, his 
good-humour, and his courage, to palliate his faults ; but 
these are not sufficient, and he is never respected by the 
reader as Galaor is. What is excused in one as a weak- 
ness, is condemned in the other as a vice. This is unfor- 
tunately managed ; for, as he is the cause of the final war, 
his character should have been clearer. Had Targiana 
been sister instead of wife to Albayzar, it would have been 
felt the Turks were in the right ; and as it is, they are not 
so manifestly in the wrong, as the author should have 
made them." 

The I'omance of Palmerin was translated from French 
into English by Anthony Munday, the Grub-street patriarch, 
as he has been called, towards the close of the sixteenth 
century. This work, however, according to Mr. Southey, 
was extremely ill executed, as it was, in a great measure, 


performed by journeymen who understood neither French 
nor English. It has lately been translated from the 
original, with much elegance, by the author so often 
quoted in the above inquiries concerning the romances of 
the peninsula.^ 

The work with which we have been last occupied may 
be regarded as closing the family history of the Palmerins. 
It was, I believe, subsequently carried on in Portuguese, 
but this continuation obtained no celebrity nor success."^ 
There is, however, a very pretty French romance of the 
sixteenth century, by Gabriel Chapuis, who translated so 
many of the Spanish tales of chivalry, entitled Darinel, 
son of Primaleon. The most interesting adventures relate 
to the Palace of Illusions, raised by a magician, in which 
everyone who entered fancied he enjoyed all things that 
he wished. This work is announced as translated from 
the Spanish, but was in fact the composition of Chapuis. 

Besides the romances concerning the imaginary families 
of Amadis and Palmerin, there are mentioned in the 
scrutiny of Don Quixote's library, Bon Olivante de Laura, 
by Antonio de Torquemada, which is condemned for its 
arrogance and absurdity, and Felixmarte of Hyrcania, 
which is sent to the bonfire in the court, for the harshness 
and dryness of the style, spite of the strange birth and 
chimerical adventures of its hero. Dr. Johnson, I suppose, 
is the only person in this land who has been guilty of 
reading the whole of Felixmarte of Hyrcania. Bishop 
Percy informed Boswell, " That the doctor, when a boy, 
was immoderately fond of romances of chivalry, and he 
retained his fondness for them through life ; so that, 
spending part of a summer at my parsonage-house in the 
country, he chose for his regular reading the old Spanish 
romance of Felixmarte of Hyrcania, in folio, which he 

^ Palmerin of England, translated from the Portuguese of Frances de 
Moraes, by Robert Soutliey, 1807, 12mo. 

=^ " A third and fourth part, indeed," remarks Ticknor, " containing 
The Adventures of Duardos the Second, appeared in Portuguese, 
written by Diogo Fernandez, in 1587 ; and a fifth and sixth are said to 
have been written by Alvares do Oriente, a contemporary poet of no 
mean reputation. But the last two do not seem to have been printed, 
and none of them were much known beyond the limits of their native 
country," i. 250. 


read quite tliroiigh." — Boswell's " Life of Jolinson," 1884, 
8vo. vol. i. p. 22. 

The more celebrated romance of 

Don Belianis of Greece/ 

is frequently alluded to in Avellaneda's continuation of 
Don Quixote, and is also mentioned by Cervantes more 
favourably than most others of the same description, 
in the scrutiny of the library. " This which I have in my 
hands, said the barber, is the famous Belianis. Truly, 
cried the curate, he with his second, third, and fourth 
parts, had need of a dose to purge his excessive choler : 
Besides, his castle of Fame should be demolished, and a, 
heaj:) of other rubbish removed, in order to which I give my 
vote to grant them the benefit of a reprieve, and as they 
show signs of amendment, so shall mercy or justice be 
used towards them : In the mean time take them into cus- 
tody, and keep them safe at home ; but let none be per- 
mitted to converse with them." 

It would be needless to detain and tire the reader with 
any account of the history of the Invencible Cavallero Don 
Polindo, son of the king of Numidia, and his love with the 
Princess Behsia ; of the Valeroso Cavallero Don Cirongiho 
of Thrace, son of the king of Macedonia, written by Ber- 
nardo de Vargas, or of the Esforzado Cavallero Don Clarian 
de Landanis, by Geronimo Lopez. 

There still remain, however, two romances of consider- 
able beauty and interest, which first appeared in the dialect 
of Catalonia. 

When the Eomans were expelled from Spain by the 
northern invaders, the language they bequeathed was 
adopted, but soon disfigured by the conquerors. During the 
ninth century it was still farther corrupted by the inroads 
of the Moors, and had at length so far degenerated, that 
the Arabic became the chief vehicle of literary composition. 

In the eleventh century the French Romans language 

^ Libro primero del valoroso e invencible prencipe Don Belianis de 
Grecia, hijo del Emperador Don Belanio de Grecia. sacada de lengua 
Griega en la qual le escrivio el sabio Frisian por un hijo del vertuoso 
varon Toribio Fernandez. Printed 1564 and 1579. 


was introduced into the peninsula by Prince Henry of 
Lorraine, who married a daughter of Alphonso VI. of Cas- 
tile, and was diffused by the intercourse which subsisted 
between the French and Spanish nations, in their mutual 
resistance of the Saracens. A great change in consequence 
took place in the language of Spain, and five or six different 
dialects were spoken in the peninsula. Of these, the 
earliest, the most widely extended, and the one which bore 
the strongest resemblance to the southern French Momans, 
was that adopted in Catalonia. It was spoken in that 
province, in Eoussillon and Valentia ; and, till the period 
of the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, (when the Cas- 
tilian tongue became prevalent,) i